Aspiration Awards 2024: Special Recognition Award – Honouring Barbara Crone, North West Regional College | NCFE

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Aspiration Awards 2024: Special Recognition Award – Honouring Barbara Crone, North West Regional College 


The Aspiration Awards are a celebration of exceptional achievements in education, recognising those who go above and beyond to make a difference. This year, we’re proud to present a Special Recognition Award posthumously to Barbara Crone, in honour of her 30+ years of dedication to further and higher education, specifically her outstanding work in teaching CACHE qualifications. 

Inspirational educator 

Barbara Crone, previously known as Barbara Marshall (nee Twaddle), dedicated over three decades to the teaching profession, leaving an indelible mark on North West Regional College’s (NWRC) community, specifically at their Limavady Campus. Throughout the years she taught qualifications including Higher National Diplomas, Access Foundation Studies, A Levels, and NCFE’s own CACHE Level 2 and 3 Diplomas for Children’s Care, Learning and Development (CCLD). 

Barbara’s unique skill set, engaging personality, and exemplary pastoral care made her an inspirational lecturer. As the CCLD Coordinator, she ensured that the standards of learning, teaching, and assessment were consistently of high quality, instilling passion and commitment in both her colleagues and learners. Her approach set a benchmark for excellence, making her a revered role model and mentor. 

Lifelong impact 

Barbara played a crucial role in learner inductions, particularly for those with complex learning needs and mature learners returning to education. Her dedication to learner welfare and her relentless motivation helped these learners build confidence and commitment to their courses, which was evidenced by a consistent, outstanding 100% achievement rate for all learners. 

Beyond her direct teaching responsibilities, Barbara provided invaluable guidance to the teaching team on curriculum delivery and student support. She worked closely with placement assessors to ensure that learners were well-prepared for their placements and workplace assessments. Barbara’s passion for maintaining programme quality extended to mentoring new staff members, offering expert advice, and sharing her vast experience. 

Commitment and resilience 

In the academic year 2022-23, Barbara faced an incredibly challenging period following a difficult diagnosis. Despite this, she displayed unwavering dedication to her learners, completing all teaching and assessments early to ensure her learners’ success before taking leave. Barbara’s background in counselling equipped her with the skills to lead in pastoral care, and she was passionate about empowering every learner to succeed. 

She had the unique ability of meeting every student at their level, being firm but fair, while using her humour and stories to put them at ease and supporting them in a respectful, professional, and non-judgemental way, leaving them with no doubt that they were cared for.  

Legacy of excellence 

Before she sadly passed away in October 2023, Barbara ensured that teaching, learning, and assessment within all courses were in excellent hands. Her legacy lives on through her learners, many of whom have become exceptional classroom assistants, teachers, social workers, and nurses. Barbara's influence continues to inspire excellence in education. 

Hear from those who knew Barbara 

Carol Thompson, Curriculum Manager for Early Years at NWRC: “We were privileged to have Barbara as part of our team, and we miss her smiling presence. She inspired our students to be exceptional in their chosen fields.  

“The Special Recognition Award honours her exceptional contributions and the lasting impact she made on education and the lives of those she touched.” 

Catherine Boyle, Assessor at NWRC: “I was fortunate to work with Barbara for seven years, in the Early Years department of Limavady campus. From the first moment I met Barbara, I was struck by her passion to ensure the happiness and success of each student. 

“Barbara was a superb mentor to myself when I changed my career path, and working with her was not only rewarding professionally, but also good fun. Barbara had a sparkle in her eyes, and we enjoyed many a giggle together.  

“I witnessed firsthand the way she went over and above to support all learners, from being empathetic and understanding to giving them a good 'push' when needed! 

Jamie-Lee Moore, previous learner at NWRC: “I first met Barbara when I was 16. I still remember the first day walking into her class and meeting her as my lecturer, she was lovely, and made a group of know-it-all 16 years old feel like we could achieve anything, and the world was literally our oyster. For years I always remembered her as a very glamorous woman who took great pride in herself.  

“Fast forward 16 years, I decided to change career to suit around a busy family life and I enrolled with some hesitation to a CACHE CCLD course, feeling a bit less confident I walked back in through the college doors to be met by the wonderful Barbara.  

“Barbara instantly made me feel comfortable yet again. Barbara as a person was extraordinary, she made you feel like you were the only person in the room she was talking to while teaching. She was always on hand to answer any question and never made you feel that your question was silly. She genuinely is one of the best educators I have ever experienced. Barbara taught with such interest and passion, she always went above and beyond with information to help us relate in every aspect. 

“Barbara always put her students first and was determined that we would finish the course and all assessments early before she became gravely ill. Barbara became very much like a friend to most of us last year, she shared our wins in life, she listened to us complain about silly wee things our partners did or didn’t do right, and we often shared stories of our families. She made our whole year, enjoyable and fun. Barbara was a person who you would meet once and never forget. She was the most selfless person I knew, she was kind, considerate, encouraging, witty, loving and genuinely a pleasure to have known.  

“I have no doubt in my mind, that Barbara touched the lives of so many people in so many different ways through her time at NWRC. I have often said in the last year I was extremely thankful our paths crossed again, especially at an age I could appreciate her, for who she was as a person, and what she did for us all as an educator”. 

Emma Lindsay, manager of local day care nursery and previous learner at NWRC: “Throughout the childcare course I studied in Limavady I had various tutors and one of whom was Barbara. I was sad to hear the news of Barbara’s passing, she was a wonderful lecturer, full of joy and always had a smile on her face. 

“Barbara’s favourite subject to teach us in childcare was child development and psychology, she always kept us interested in the subject and wanting to learn more. She was keen to encourage her students and see them succeed, plenty of advice and guidance was given along our childcare journey. Barbara had plenty of time for her students and always gave a listening ear. 

“Barbara will be sorely missed within the childcare sector”.  

Julie Hyde, Director of External and Regulatory Affairs at NCFE, said: “This year, we’re proud to present a Special Recognition Award posthumously, to Barbara, in honour of her over 30 years of dedication to further and higher education. Barbara ensured high standards of learning, teaching, and assessment, instilling passion and commitment in both her colleagues and learners.  

“Her outstanding work in teaching CACHE qualifications has left an indelible mark on countless learners and the education community at large. Her impact on children and families is profound and far-reaching. Barbara directly influenced the quality of care and education that childcare professionals provide. By instilling high standards and a passion for excellence in her learners, she ensured that they entered the workforce well-prepared and committed to delivering exceptional care and education to children.  

“Barbara’s legacy lives on in the positive changes and continuous improvements within the childcare sector, ultimately benefiting children, families, and communities.” 

To read more inspirational stories from this year's award winners, visit our Aspiration Awards 2024 page  

Barbara Crone's family, friends and colleagues

Barbara Crone's family, friends and colleagues

Barbara left a heart print on everyone she interacted with.

I'll forever be grateful to Barbara and her beautiful bright smile will forever be engraved in all our hearts.