Leadership and Governance Award after merger recognised in prize money handover event

The power of an outstanding college education to improve the life chances and boost the aspirations of young people was brought sharply into focus this week when a former Penwith College student described how his education had helped to transform his life.

Will Elliott was talking to gathered Governors and senior managers from Truro and Penwith College as part of a cheque presentation ceremony to mark the College receiving the Association of Colleges (AoC) Leadership and Governance Beacon Award.

Sponsored by the Education Training Foundation (ETF), the College was named as winner of the award earlier in the year due to its successful merger with Penwith College in Penzance. On Wednesday, March 29 the College was presented with prize money of £5,000 as part of the award to use on best practice dissemination work across the post-16 sector.

Will, a former Penwith College student, has used his experiences at the College to become a full College Governor and also to stand as Cornwall Council candidate in the upcoming May local elections. He described how the College has helped him to aim higher and succeed.

He said: “I am proud to say that I was lucky enough to attend Penwith College, and can definitely say that it changed my future for the better. I came to Truro and Penwith College from school, a relatively average student with relatively average goals, not sure where my life was headed - but Truro and Penwith College changed that, urging and propelling me to reach for heights I didn't know I could achieve.

“And this is true, not only for me, but the thousands of other Penwith college students that have seen so many positive things come from the Truro-Penwith merger. It is true for each and every one of the students we are proud to not only teach, but to push towards better life chances every day.”

The £5,000 prize money was presented to Truro and Penwith College Chair of Governors Ellen Winser by the Association of College’s South West representative Ian Munro. 

Sponsor of the award, David Russell from the ETF, said: “We sponsored the AoC Beacon Leadership and Governance Award because we know that good leadership is vital to sustained, high quality college performance.  Good leadership starts with the Governing Body, a group deserves to be recognised more publicly more often.

“The story of this College is a heartening one, particularly the merger between Truro and Penwith colleges, and the successful five year plan to achieve Ofsted Outstanding for the new merged organisation.  I am particularly pleased that the judges found examples of effective practice in leadership and governance that can be shared with other leaders. Congratulations to the college and good luck for the future.”

On receiving the award, a delighted Ellen Winser explained how the prize money has been used to help share best post-16 practice nationally.

“We are delighted to receive the award,” she said. “Some of it has already been used to bring other colleges nationally to Cornwall through a conference and individual visits. This enables many providers to experience at first-hand what Ofsted defined as “the ethos of aspiration and achievement that pervades the College.

“The award is for the work of Leadership and Governance and that really means for their success in working together to deliver what our many stakeholders need. I would like to pay tribute to their joint work which this award celebrates. With so much change in the sector, governors and leaders of other colleges have been keen to learn from the success of Truro and Penwith College, particularly for example about how our support and guidance systems which reinforce outstanding teaching can raise achievement and aspiration for all groups of students.

“Over the coming months we will be continuing this activity, together with contributions to national best practice events and publications arranged by national bodies such as Ofsted and the AoC. More locally, we continue to support school and college improvement through The Cornwall Teaching School, and are now able to use this expertise in the development of the new campus at Callywith.”