In News by Bembridge PC

Successful Island adult learners were celebrated at a special awards evening at Ryde recently.

The event at Westridge was part of the National Festival of Learning – and 16 awards were presented by the Adult Community Learning Service of the Isle of Wight Council.

The awards recognised achievement in a range of subjects – and gave the opportunity to share and showcase stories.

Cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Paul Brading, said: “The winners highlight how learning not only supports the gaining of qualifications, but the impact it can have on people’s lives, their families and their communities.

“Everyone should be very proud of the awards they have been given, and the inspirational comments made about them that will inspire others to give learning a go.”

A special award, presented in memory of former Downside Middle School teacher Laura Groves, was won by Greenmount Primary School’s Jane Mitchell, for her support of families, going the extra mile in the belief that every child matters. A highly commended award in this category was awarded to Jane Ambridge of Gurnard Pre-School.

The ‘Learning through Arts, Crafts and Culture’ award was presented by Gioia Minghella-Giddens to Brian and Margaret Cope for their learning about sustainable materials to support St Helens Carnival.

The ‘Learning within the Family’ award was presented to Miranda Gatcum who attended a Families Living and Learning Together course with her son which had positive impacts on their home life.

The ‘Learning through Technology’ award was presented by High Sheriff, Geoff Underwood, to Paul Whitaker who has completed computer and English qualifications after a bike accident meant Paul had needed to explore different career options.

The ‘Learning through Functional Skills’ award was presented by Reniera O’Donnell, assistant director of regeneration, to Connor Woolnough. Connor has overcome his dyslexia by using a variety of resources including yellow paper and has worked diligently to achieve his maths and English qualifications.

The ‘Learning for Work’ award was presented by Wendy Phillips of the Education Development Trust to Rowena Millan. Rowena has completed her English qualifications and feels more confident with grammar and this has enabled her to enrol on a nursing degree course with Portsmouth University.

The ‘Social Impact’ award was presented to Susan Elson. Since completing courses with the Adult Community Learning Service she has become a volunteer, regularly promoting adult education at the Our Place weekly events in the West Wight.

Outstanding ‘Individual Learning’ awards were presented by Councillor Brading to Val Petley-Shaw and Tracy Lewis who have both worked hard, attending extra classes each week to achieve their qualifications. 

A highly commended prize was awarded to Jan Bull, who is the lead tutor for functional skills; her flexible approach helps her students reach their potential.

The winner of the tutor award was Gina Dyer. Gina started as a learner many years ago and has progressed to a degree in art and now works for the New Carnival Company as a tutor. Gina really understands how adult learning can change lives and this passion is reflected in her teaching.