Aspiration Awards 2023: Teacher of the Year – Lucy Sharp
The Teacher or Tutor of the Year recognises those who have gone above and beyond to support their students. This year’s winner is Lucy Sharp, Education and Early Years T Level Coordinator and teacher at Derby College.
Working extremely hard over the last year – and particularly over the last two years to deliver the new Education and Early Years T Level – Lucy has played an integral role in ensuring students receive the best quality education and achieve to the best of their ability.
Derby College was an early adopter of the T Level and first piloted it during lockdown. Implementing a brand-new qualification during this time was very challenging, but Lucy persevered, and the first cohort of students went on to receive brilliant results – including 70% at Distinction and 30% at Merit grade.
As part of Ofsted’s Thematic Survey reviewing the Education and Early Years T Level, Derby College has received fantastic feedback with Lucy being an instrumental part of this. An Ofsted inspector spent time with Lucy who showcased the planning, work, and resources developed and implemented for the T Level students.
The inspector also observed Lucy in her sessions over the course of three days and could clearly see a positive rapport established with students, exemplary behaviour, and learners who were very complimentary of their teacher.
Lucy ensures variation is planned to meet her students’ needs and, in her session, praised and encouraged students constantly and consistently. The work produced by students was high quality and they showed good understanding of the topics. Through feedback, they explained that Lucy always breaks down learning and they liked her style of teaching.
The students also provided very positive feedback regarding Lucy and how supportive she is in sessions, with pastoral care, and in providing information, advice, and guidance for next steps.
Amber Hamid, Curriculum Manager at Derby College, said: “I have nominated Lucy for this award as she has worked extremely hard to deliver the T Level to a very high-quality standard. The students show clear understanding of the topic, higher order thinking and high aspirations and ambitions for the future.
“Lucy's tutor group, students who completed in the summer, all had positive outcomes and destinations at the end, with 50% going onto higher education and the other 50% securing employment in the early years sector.”
Lucy has also networked with other colleges and provided support where she can. For example, another college that will be implementing T Levels from September 2023 asked to meet with her to see how she had developed the qualification.
They were extremely grateful for the time she gave in sharing her experiences, and felt it had been useful being able to discuss with someone who had been part of T Levels from the start. She was able to answer all questions and offer advice and guidance based on what had worked well.
Always putting her students’ needs first, Lucy will often attend training sessions in her own time to enable her to develop knowledge and skills. She has also attended industry insight days in primary schools to keep her own knowledge current and up to date, so she can provide her students with the most accurate information.
Lucy has organised guest speakers – including SENCOs, social workers, and primary school teachers – to attend her sessions and arranged for students to visit the local university to provide more enriching experiences for her students and help grow their ambition.
Says Lucy: “I really appreciate the recognition for this award! It’s been an enriching experience delivering the T Level in Education and Early Years; we have had fantastic cohorts of students and with my great and supportive team, we’ve all worked very hard to ensure our students progress and gain positive destinations.”
Caroline Henbery, Operations Director of Technical Education at NCFE and judge for this category, added: "Lucy’s nomination stood out for the significant work that she has done over the last few years to develop the T Level in Education and Early Years within DCG, from teaching through Covid and lock-downs to providing extra support for learners via active engagement with industry and arranging guest speakers to engage the learners in real-world learning and industry issues.
"Lucy has developed networks with other providers to ensure sharing of best practices for all learners to benefit from and has always kept a sharp focus on helping learners to progress to the next stage of their learning or entering into the workplace. Well done Lucy!"
Congratulations Lucy! To read more inspirational stories from this year's award winners and recipients, visit our Aspiration Awards 2023 page.
Teacher of the Year 2023: Lucy Sharp
Our Apprentice of the Year winner is 16-year-old Christopher Ademola, an Adult Care Worker Level 2 apprentice studying through Salford City College, who is helping to improve the lives of those he cares for.
Our Against All Odds winner is Gabriella Fox, an inspiring individual who began studying her Level 2 Certificate in Creative Craft (Cookery) remotely through Technology Triumphs in January 2022.
Our Centre of the Year winner is Learning Curve Group, who impressed the judges with their dedication to their learners’ needs, ensuring that every learner receives equal opportunities.