An inspirational Oldham College tutor has been crowned ‘Teacher of the Year’ for her work with SEND learners.
Liz Wilcox (pictured), the college's Programme Tutor for Dyslexia was given the accolade by the Judging Panel at nasen (National Association of Special Educational Needs), a charity supporting thousands of practitioners nationwide.
Oldham College appointed Liz as its first-ever specialist Dyslexia Tutor in 2018 and she has since provided dedicated support to more than 100 students.
Her first task was to audit the college’s dyslexia provision before drawing up a comprehensive plan to raise awareness and provide support for dyslexic students.
She has since developed the knowledge and expertise of more than 70 staff through dedicated training sessions – and worked with Human Resources to ensure workplace support for staff.
The Teacher of the Year 2019 nasen award, sponsored by the National Education Union, seeks to highlight inspiring people who have made a positive impact on children and young people with SEND through outstanding practice.
Alun Francis, Principal and Chief Executive of Oldham College, said: “Liz has made a huge impact since joining us - and we’re extremely proud of her and this award.
“Her appointment as a specialist Dyslexia Tutor was a first for us, but it has already paid off for so many students and staff.
“Liz helps to set targets that add real value, makes sure everyone is supported and enables them to achieve stretching goals.
“But she also goes the extra mile in all that she does. She’s developed information packs to guide learners and parents through their journey with us, for example, and she blogs about dyslexia for students and staff on our intranet.
“Liz works with a students’ group looking at the most up-to-date adaptive and rehabilitative devices to further develop our assistive technology - and she also supports those students in developing skills which boosts their future employability.
“At Oldham College we truly recognise the difference and diversity of all our staff and learners as assets. We’ve just become the first FE college in the UK to get the Dyslexia Smart Award from the British Dyslexia Association and the efforts of Liz - and many others - are crucial to making our work exemplary in this area.
“Our commitment to continuous improvement and development is there to ensure all learners can achieve their full potential – and to make Oldham College the best place to learn and work.”
Liz’s work was praised by Oldham College students in the nasen 2019 award submission.
Ricky, who passed his Level 2 functional skills in English this summer, said: “It’s all down to Liz. I can’t believe how much I have come on since working with her - she’s absolutely fantastic and helped me find a strategy that works.”
Lisa was a student nervous about facing up to dyslexia, but who is now confident about sitting her GCSEs.
“Getting referred to Liz was the best thing that happened to me”, she said.
“Not only does she give me strategies to apply and use at home and in the classroom but she allowed me to take it at my own pace. She picked me up when I was down and gave me the confidence to keep on going.”
Professor Adam Boddison, Chief Executive of nasen, said: “This is the third year running for our awards ceremony, which gives us the opportunity to say thank you to those people who make a real difference to the lives of children and young people with SEND and who dedicate their time to helping them fulfil their potential.
“It is great to be able to reward schools, settings, organisations and individuals for their hard work and continued support to SEND”.