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Welcome to the 2021 Stars of the East Awards

Stars of the East is dedicated to recognising Norfolk and Suffolk’s shining vocational and technical (VTQ) stars. This has been a year like no other, and we believe now more than ever it is important to recognise the hard work of students and teachers, especially those from VTQ backgrounds who rarely get the recognition they deserve.  

Scroll down to read about the incredible award winners from 2021 across all 8 award categories.  At the bottom of the page there's  of links to useful resources about what university life is like and the study skills that are needed, all especially designed for those from vocational backgrounds. Hopefully these will inspire you (or your students) when thinking about your next steps after school and college. 


Have you visited our resource centre? It's jam-packed of totally free resources on all topics to do with higher education - there's stuff for teachers, young people and parents and carers. 

Resources, this way >

Social Science learner of the year 

Gold - Gemma Siely



School/College: East Coast College 

Nominator: Cerys Back 

I have nominated Gemma for this award, because I would like her to be recognised for the hard work she has demonstrated this year - and how much I have seen her progress in the time that I have known her, not just academically but personally too.  

Gemma consistently demonstrates dedication and commitment to her Childcare course - her assignments are always completed on time and to a high standard, with Gemma even coming into college for an extra 3 hours a week to work on her assignments.  

Gemma has overcome many personal barriers and has had some really difficult personal experiences this year, and has never let this impact her college achievements. She has shown fantastic resilience, and has been working towards the goal of becoming a primary school teacher. Gemma speaks of her ambition to make a difference in young people's mental health. Despite not having to apply for university until next year, Gemma has already drafted a personal statement and has looked into the courses she would like to apply for. She has attended multiple webinars in her own time, to help towards this goal - including careers webinars and an 'insight into teaching' webinar.  

Gemma is a great role model to her peers, for her strength and progression - she has come so far just in the months I have worked with her (since September) and I can only imagine this will continue. She is kind to all of her classmates. She has been on a work placement in a primary school, and has made great connections and demonstrated skills in the industry, using this to inspire her university applications. 

Silver - Amber Hampshire


School/College: East Norfolk Sixth Form College 

Nominator: Rebekah Bainbridge 

Amber is studying BTECs in Applied Psychology and Health and Social Care and has made incredible progress since joining the college.  I have never seen someone so hard working and committed to their studies, whilst simultaneously growing so much in confidence in herself.  

Amber is not only committed to her studies, she is also a fantastic role model for others.  She is so supportive and inclusive of others, and took many students under her wing at the start of term when she recognised that some people find it more difficult than others to make new friends after leaving high school. 

Within weeks of joining the college, Amber also represented the college by volunteering to lead visitors during an open event, truly throwing herself into new situations and making the most of her opportunities.  Since then, Amber has also joined the Combined Cadet Force, even frequently leads sessions for her peers and has a part time job. 

Amber's determination and resilience is to be commended, even if she doesn't always see this for herself. 

Bronze - Caitlin King


School/College: East Norfolk Sixth Form College 

Nominator: Rebekah Bainbridge 

Caitlin has been studying BTEC Applied Psychology to complement her other qualifications in Health and Social Care. She has loved the applied nature of the course and has been developing her career interests in health, psychology and education. She simply aspires to help people and this is shown in her aspirations, commitments to her studies and the amount of support she has offered her peers. 

Having studied BTEC before and having such a natural caring nature, Caitlin has been invaluable in supporting new students to settle into the college through offering advice and encouragement, particularly throughout this challenging year. 

Caitlin has also worked as a Lifeguard and Swimming Teacher alongside her studies and continues to be a role model through these opportunities, as well as reflecting on various applications of her learning from Psychology, developing skills for the future and exploring her aspirations in psychology and teaching. 

Runners Up


Lucy Graham 

School/College: East Norfolk Sixth Form 

Nominator: Rebekah Bainbridge 

Lucy’s dedication to her studies is incredible. Her assignments for BTEC Applied Psychology have been fantastic with so much wider research that really shows off her interests in the subject. She has managed to balance this incredibly well with two art based subjects and has numerous commendations for her creative work also. 

Lucy should be commended for her transition to college and has grown so much as an individual. She shows incredible resilience despite so many challenges over the past year. She has grown in confidence and is a fantastic support to her peers through her academic work and caring nature for others.  

Lucy constantly impresses her teachers across all subjects and clearly loves what she does. 


Chloe Fisher 

School/College: East Norfolk Sixth Form 

Nominator: Rebekah Bainbridge 

Chloe has already completed WJEC Criminology course and started BTEC Applied Psychology this academic year to explore her interests in criminal psychology.  She has worked incredibly hard in both courses and has been keen to apply her new knowledge of Psychology to her interests in Criminology. So much so that she has applied to study Criminology and Psychology at University and is immensely proud to be the first in her family to go on to HE. 

Chloe has been an excellent role model to her peers with her work ethic and aspirations. She is a very inclusive and supportive person, which is a fantastic asset to others. Outside of college Chloe has built up her work experience through part time work and is looking forward to taking the next step in her studies and career opportunities. 

Sam Cooper 

School/College: Sheringham High School 

Nominator: Lee Clarke 

Sam has been an exceptional Psychology student since Year 12. He has consistently achieved A* on his assessments across the two years. He is an extremely dedicated student and has regularly submitted extra pieces of work to ensure he develops further understanding in the subject. He has been an excellent peer to his fellow classmates and will regularly support them in their learning. Sam is a national cross country runner and he has used the self discipline and motivation required to complete at this elite level in his A level studies. Sam has also excelled in History and Biology. Sam plans to further his studies in Psychology and has already undertaken relevant undergraduate reading in the area of Neuropsychology, which he is very passionate about. 


Poppy Bishop 

School/College: East Norfolk Sixth Form 

Nominator: Rebekah Bainbridge 

Poppy is currently studying BTEC Law and Applied Psychology alongside Criminology. She is incredibly dedicated to her studies and spends so much time reviewing her class notes and working hard to make her assignments the best they can be. She is proactive in recognising where the subjects overlap and exploring this.  

Poppy has grown so much in confidence since joining the college and is a caring and thoughtful person. She is loyal and supportive of her friends and peers, supporting them in their college work and socially. 

Most recently Poppy volunteered to help promote the BTEC Psychology course and was keen to share her work to help others see what the course involves. Every day Poppy grows in confidence and has also begun the process of organising a lunch time social drawing club. 


Kath Frost 

School/College: East Norfolk Sixth Form 

Nominator: Adele Kermode-Robb 

Kath has worked exceptionally hard throughout her two years of Criminology at East Norfolk Sixth Form, where she has always given 100% to her studies.  This includes during both lockdowns in which Kath progressed from year 1 to 2 always attending and contributing to lessons, be they remote or in class, with enthusiasm and a drive to ensure her work was to the highest standard.  This hard work and determination meant that Kath achieved the highest mark in her year group for the controlled assessment for two years running which demonstrated excellent independent study and motivation to challenge herself.  I am confident that Kath has a successful future in front of her and thank her for being an excellent Criminology student. 


Callum Walton 

Special commendation, in recognition of exceptional effort and determination in the face of adversity 

School/College: East Norfolk Sixth Form 

Nominator: Adele Kermode-Robb 

Callum is one of the most hard working students I have worked alongside in my time as a teacher.  He joined our college as a Level 2 student taking Level 2 Criminology where he impressed his teachers with hard work and enthusiasm within the subject, even within remote learning in which Callum completed extension work to help him to progress and be successful in the transition to Level 3.  His target grade was initially predicted lower than he knew he could work and he has since worked tirelessly to strive towards the highest grades he can and to his credit is working consistently two grades higher than his originally predicted grade! Callum has a passion for Criminology and his willingness to always fully engross himself in any class task, be it independent work, working with others, or class discussions, helps to create a studious and inquisitive classroom environment.  He is a great role model to others that the of power of resilience and hard work will always prevail. 

Edward Mellor 

School/College: Springwood High School 

Nominator: Roisin Mallen 

Ed has made significant progress in Criminology since the start of the year, both in his attitude and performance. Ed is always contributing to class discussions, showing clear engagement with content, and they are often insightful which is beneficial to his class members. His confidence has grown in his independent work too and he will often engage in conversation with me and his peers on the table about the answers, once again showing a strong work ethic and commitment to Criminology. His written work has also improved and the more he practices the better his grades are becoming. 

Art learner of the year 

Gold - Jack Milton


School/College: East Coast College 

Nominators: Aimee Ingram and Cerys Back 

Jack has shown excellent resilience and commitment to his careers goal and aspirations in hard times, he has overcome so many boundaries and hard personal circumstances that could have knocked him down, but he has shown commitment to achieve his career goals of working with computers. He has been determined since the start of his course to apply and succeed. i first met Jack last year when he was nervous and unsure whether he had the skills or the abilities to get onto his course at university, after many meetings and course searches, we found the courses he wanted to apply for. and this year he completed his personal statement and application before any one else in his course had started. He has been willing to attend every event or webinar session he needed to ensure he was prepared. i feel that although jack has had some horrible personal circumstances and has been independent in his life for a long time. he has shown an excellent resilience and persistence to succeed in his goals. 

Jack deserves to win this award because he has consistently demonstrated dedication and resilience throughout his time at East Coast college. The passion he has for his Creative Media course is admirable, and he has used this to inspire him to go to university, overcoming barriers in his personal life. He has shown great strength in being able to continue to work hard, despite his difficult life experiences. He has made great achievements and should be proud of his progress. During the first lockdown, Jack became a volunteer responder for GoodSAM - a programme set up by the NHS to support people during Covid. This demonstrates not only his dedication for his academic work but also being a good member of his local community as well. I have seen some of the work that Jack has produced for his Creative Media coursework and it has all been extremely thorough and of an excellent standard. He has a great future ahead of him with his work ethic and talents, as well as his personal integrity. 

Silver- Ash Boast


School/College: East Coast College 

Nominator: Madeleine Moretta  

Ash started his journey in UAL Level 2 Art and Design at East Coast College after having some difficulties at school. He adapted quickly and settled in extremely well, completing all work that was set to a high standard and participating in all extracurricular visits and projects.  

Halfway through the first year of Ash's studies, the first lockdown hit and he adapted very well, supporting his peers digitally where possible, giving peer feedback on their work and communicating on a daily basis with tutors and peers.  

Ash was also participating in Nelson's Journey and achieved his UAL Level 2 Art and Design with Distinctions. His greatest focus is his family and friends and is always a pleasant student to work with.  

Ash has progressed onto UAL Level 3 Art and Design this year and we hope to see him progress onto Higher Education upon completion.  

Ash would like to become a tattoo artist in the future. 

Bronze - Lauren Ingram


School/College: The College of West Anglia, King's Lynn 

Nominator: Paul Gibson 

In 2019 Lauren joined the College on Level 1 Art & Design having been home-schooled for 4 years.  She also undertook English and Maths. 

In 2020 Lauren progressed to Level 2 Art & Design and I have been teaching her since December.  In November Lauren resat her GCSEs achieving 7 for English Language and 5 for Maths. 

Lauren has been working at an excellent level from very early on in the course. She has developed in confidence, boosted by the support of staff and peers, something that she did not always experience at school. 

Lauren understands the creative journey of design and how research is so important to producing ideas and exciting practical work. Her presentation of work is exceptional, every page of her sketchbooks tell a story and you want to know what will happen next.  Lauren is already working to the higher standards of Level 3 and she is accepted onto our Level 3 Creative Practice course for September. 

Working during the lockdowns has been a challenge for all learners. Lauren maintained her high levels of commitment, whilst supporting her family. At the time of writing her attendance is 96%.  She communicated regularly and when not able to take part in live lessons, made sure that she caught up.  Lauren was resourceful and did not let a lack of access to college resources stop her from producing innovative work. 

Lauren deserves this nomination as she has been an inspiration to her peers and I regularly use her work as examples of good practice. 

Runner Up


Jorja Smith  

Special commendation, in recognition of exceptional effort and determination in the face of adversity 

School/College: Paston College 

Nominator: Matt Phelps 

Jorja has had her education severely disrupted for several years. She has been treated for Leukaemia and this placed her in the extremely vulnerable category. So when her pals returned to college post lockdown she had to remain at home in very restricted conditions. On her recent return to lessons she produced a body of work that clearly demonstrated why NUA were keen to sign her up for an Illustration degree course. Her drawing is elegant and powerful and her commitment to her studies cannot be faulted. Her manner is so friendly and cheerful. 

Health and Social learner of the year

Gold - Aoife Cross


School/College: Attleborough Academy 

Nominator: Mrs Covington 

Since meeting Aoife in September 2020, I have been really impressed by her work ethic and her mature outlook on life, demonstrated within both Health and Social Care and also Sociology. Her commitment to her studies means that when the class are completing coursework, Aoife is always around three essays or sections ahead of the group. Not only this but the work she is producing is also of an outstanding quality. She completes a lot of research around the area and adds in quotes and supporting statements throughout.  

Aoife is aiming for a career in social work with a focus on child psychology.  For her Unit 1 coursework, her chosen environments to focus on were a psychiatric facility and an SEN school, which highlight her interest in these areas. Her higher level of understanding shines through in her work as subjects are tackled with sensitivity, highlighting her mature approach as previously mentioned.  

Being ahead with work does provide a role model for the group, this year in particular I have a few students that are managing to work ahead of the deadline and this may well be as a result of Aoife showing what is possible. One of the sections within the Unit 1 coursework requires a role play of a group communication. Aoife arranged hers with peers from outside of the subject and completed her section early and completely independently. She was though then happy to take part in the group communication with the rest of the class - offering her ideas and assistance throughout.  

During the past few weeks, I have been working remotely as I am in my third trimester of pregnancy. Aoife sets me up on TEAMS and assists communications between myself and others in the group when necessary as well as tackling any technological issues! I have really appreciated this support - she has been an amazing help.  

At home Aoife supports her brother by helping with the organisation of his medications for colon and liver conditions that he has, which has contributed to her interest in a career focused on the provision of health and social care.  Aoife also works part time as a waitress in a local restaurant, which again highlights a fantastic work ethic as she is able to not only maintain her studies at the same time but excel in them.  

Aoife likes to challenge herself; she was due to go to Mexico this summer with Rangers in order to volunteer her services in a range of school and community settings, but unfortunately it has been cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns. However, she is still hopeful that she will be able to take a gap year to engage with volunteer work in areas of the world that would really benefit from her assistance. I think this showcases Aoife's altruistic nature - she is interested in a career in Health and Social Care because she genuinely cares for and wants to help others. For Aoife, this path is truly her vocation and she is fully deserving of this recognition. 

Silver - Morgan Collings


Special commendation in recognition of exceptional effort and determination in the face of adversity 

School/College: East Norfolk Sixth Form College 

Nominator: Catherine Riley 

Morgan has shown a real sense of dedication to H&SC this academic year. In 19-20 Morgan studied the Btec L3 Certificate in H&SC and enjoyed the subject so much she decided to extend her studies in 20-21 to include up to the full L3 Diploma in H&SC.  

When the second school lockdown happened in January, Morgan juggled home schooling her younger brother, while her parents worked as key workers, with keeping on top of her H&SC coursework and studies. The care and dedication she showed to ensure her brother kept up with his studies, demonstrated to me that she has all the aptitudes required of a health and social care practitioner. I was really impressed with the maturity she demonstrated by managing her time and responsibilities effectively. The coursework she managed to produce within this time, and since back in college has been of an incredible quality showing she not only has the personality but the academic ability to succeed in her chosen industry. 

Even during this challenging time, Morgan enters the classroom every lesson with a smile on her face, she is thoughtful of others and works hard to keep up the class morale.  

Morgan wishes to work within a hospital and is hoping to leave college and start an apprenticeship within our local hospital on completion of her studies. 

Bronze - Ellen McGowan


School/College: Dereham Sixth Form College 

Nominators: Mrs Allen and Ms Wisbey 

Ellen is an outstanding Health and Social Care student.  Whilst being an all-round fabulous student who is highly committed to her studies in terms of her attitude and application, more than that, she is kind, caring and empathetic.  Her support of other students is greatly valued by staff and peers alike.  She attends the NNUH Academy and shows real aptitude and interest for all areas covered. 

Ellen wants to pursue a career in an area of therapeutic psychology which will ideally suit her personality and her desire to help others.  We are delighted to nominate Ellen for this award.

Runners Up


Madison Pinnock 

School/college: Hellesdon High School 

Nominator: Miss Amis 

Madi has shown phenomenal resilience and dedication to her health and social care studies, especially throughout the difficult year she has had. Her work is always of the highest of standards, completed on time and displayed appropriately. Madi is a kind and caring young lady who will flourish in a career in the health and social care sector. We have been incredibly lucky to teach Madi Health and Social Care From Y10-Y13.

Izzy Fuller 

School/College: Hellesdon High School 

Nominator: Miss Amis 

Izzy is a positive, kind and caring young lady who is an excellent health and social care student. She has demonstrated consistent resilience and determination to be successful in her studies despite the disruption of COVID and other circumstances. Izzy always puts every effort into her work and is thoroughly organized meaning she always meets her deadlines. We are very privileged to teach Izzy. 

Science learner of the year

Gold - Jemma Tooley


School/College: Easton College 

Nominator: Jasmine Houston 

Jemma struggled in the first year of the course, due to mental health and issues at home. Since coming back in September and choosing the Science Pathway, Jemma has been dedicated to her studies, by coming in on extra days, doing extra notes and asking tutors for support where needed. As well as this, Jemma has gone above and beyond and has re-revised everything from her first year course, especially areas where she missed from time off, and shown her ambition to go to university this September to complete Bioveterinary sciences. 

Jemma has helped her peers by sharing revision notes, discussing experiments with them and help with extra revision session over lunch and break times, so that they are ready for tests and exams. As well as all of this Jemma has had a part time job, completing work experience for her desired field of work and has improved her mental health, all by herself with the help and support of the college and peers. I know Jemma will smash this final term and complete her ambition to go to university and achieve all she wants to achieve. She is a real star and inspiration to future students and the peers around her.

Silver - Hannah Beavers


School/College: East Norfolk Sixth Form College 

Nominator: Lucy Thomas 

Hannah is an extremely dilligent and conscientious student who makes the most of every learning opportunity to better her understanding and consolidate her knowledge. She has been part of the Medical Science ENhance option this year - a group which spend an additional lesson each week looking at material covered in lessons and also looking at how this knowledge relates to the work around us and the opportunities that are available to pursue in terms of careers and further education that having a Level 3 Certificate in Medical Science can open up.  

Hannah consistently achieves the highest grades in her year group and is always willing to help those around her to understand concepts better by sharing her knowledge and joining in with group work. Hannah is very interested in pursuing a career in Speech and Language Therapy after attending a Question And Answer session with a local Speech and Language Team during one of our ENhance lessons. I know Hannah's hard work and determination will see her celebrate success in this field and to be nominated as a Star of the East will boost her confidence in herself and her abilities. 

Bronze - George Crumly


School/College: Lowestoft Sixth Form College 

Nominator: Zoe Ablett 

George joined us in September this year on the forensic and criminal investigations course. He has taken to college life incredibly well despite 2020 being a tumultuous year. During the first term of this academic year, George has been an exemplary student, he is always in lessons and always prepared with a great attitude to his learning. But more than that, George has been pushing himself to achieve top grades throughout and to improve his work in any way he can.  

This attitude has meant that George has been completing work using higher level resources, referencing, and writing about concepts that are often not introduced until the second year or for degree level students. He takes constructive marking well and will spend time practicing skills that he struggled with until he has perfected them. In both the physical and digital classroom George is engaged and willingly gives his perceptions and opinions on all manner of topics covered within forensics.  

George is also completing an EPQ alongside his extended diploma in forensics to push himself even more to achieve his absolute best during his time at college.  

Within class, George is helpful to his peers in a way that is nurturing and leads them to understand the topics even more. He has been extra helpful with some of the statistics content for the first year exams where those sat with him benefitted from his guidance and gentle help. 

Runners Up


Callum Gunton 

School/College: Lowestoft Sixth Form College 

Nominator: Zoe Ablett 

Callum has been dedicated throughout the course to his own learning and growth. This is his third year at the college and his coursework has improved incredible amounts. He actively looks for ways to improve his understanding of the subject and to go the extra mile.  

He is always one of the first to the class and comes eager to learn and with a positive attitude towards everything that is taught, even when he finds the topic a challenge. He's a real role model to his peers in regards to this as his cheery attitude and desire to knuckle down and still complete all of his work has never once faltered throughout the entire pandemic.  

On top of his normal timetable of forensics, Callum has also been working towards his maths qualifications alongside forensics classes.  

Callum is also just generally a really lovely person who genuinely cares about those he studying alongside and his teachers, making him a pleasure to teach. 

Tia Lugo 

School/College: Lowestoft Sixth Form College 

Nominator: Zoe Ablett 

Tia is a very quiet but dedicated member of the class. She has such a high level of motivation to her studies that she sometimes does need to be reminded to take a moment between projects that she's working on. Her assignments are always beautifully written and well referenced, showing how much she's researched the topics. She's also possibly the most organised and punctual student of the year, her work is normally the first to be handed in. Throughout the course she's demonstrated this motivation and dedication to do well and to balance college life with her life outside of college.  

The friendships she's formed within the class have led to her being a bit of a second teacher, often going over topics with her friends outside of lesson time or helping to point them towards a useful resource she's found. The desire to collaborate with those around her is admirable and I have no doubts that this will see her succeed in the realms of science within her career. 

Bradley Howling 

School/College: Springwood High School 

Nominator: Victoria Mann 

Bradley began our Applied Science course, like his peers, at the significant disadvantage of not having had the opportunity to develop the practical skills normally focused on in later stages of Yr11. Time missed due to the pandemic has had a real impact on many students' ability to approach hands-on scientific tasks.  

This has made Bradley's efforts to develop and learn all the skills we have studied particularly impressive. He has worked hard to not only demonstrate complex scientific methods to a high standard but also spent a significant amount of time cultivating the reporting skills that evidence this. Including the use of a large amount of independently researched material to support his work. His submissions are of the highest quality, produced with limited guidance and have been judged at distinction level consistently, on first submission.  

He has not only shown dedication and commitment in getting the most from the practical opportunities within the course. But through careful classwork, homework and independent revision also established an excellent understanding of the examined material in biology, chemistry and  physics. He is a fantastic example of what a BTEC student is capable of and the high standard of learning and understanding a student can take forward onto higher education when committed to a course like Applied Science. 


Karma Blythe  

Special commendation, in recognition of exceptional effort and determination in the face of adversity  

School/College: Open Academy 

Nominator: Mrs Molloy 

Nomination: Karma is unbelievable dedicated.  She is the first in her family to get any sort of higher education. Despite having a busy and sometimes difficult home life, she has persevered and has got a number of offers for University places to study Biomedical science. 

As a high risk student Karma has had to shield for the majority of the past year.  Despite this, she has always joined in with live lessons taking place in the classroom by virtual means.   

As the eldest child in the family she has also had to deal with a huge family tragedy this year.  Her mother was diagnosed with covid.  She spent a number of weeks in ITU.  She then unfortunately got a clot in her leg and eventually had to have her leg amputated.  Karma has had to support her siblings and her step father throughout this entire time, while also trying to continue with her studies and never missing a lesson or deadline. 

She is a breath of fresh air and i am SO PROUD of the young lady that she has become, and everything that she will go on to achieve. 

Ethan Albon 

School/College: College of West Anglia 

Nominator: Elaine Cornwell 

Ethan was a unanimous choice from the science teaching team and his course director.   

Ethan joined the BTEC level 3 Applied Science course in September 2020.  He has excellent attendance whether the sessions are in college or online.  He is focussed in class and has adapted to blended learning.  Of particular note is the improvement in his practical skills having had very little practical experience prior to joining us.  He hands his work in on time and clearly understands the assessment requirements. He was given the platinum status (the highest) following a recent progress review only one of three students.  Beyond his course he has participated in all the careers activities and the work experience coordinator speaks very highly of him. 

I am delighted to nominate him for this award. 


Gio Fernandez 

School/College: East Norfolk Sixth Form College 

Nominator: Lucy Thomas 

Gio has shown exceptional commitment to the Level 3 Certificate in Medical Science course this year. He is continuously trying to better his understanding and consistently reaches the highest grades. He attends additional support groups (SET) in order to clarify learning points and is determined to achieve his full potential in order for him to access the AS Biology course next year to enable him to access biology based degree courses in the future. I am so impressed with his positive and determined outlook and he truly deserves to celebrate his successes this year despite the difficult challenges we have all faced. 


Amber Callaghan 

School/College: University Centre of West Anglia 

Nominator: Luana Freeman 

Amber has come back to education after working for about six years. She is currently raising a one year old child and working part time as well a completing her Access to Veterinary science diploma. She has shown immense dedication to the course and has pushed through all the challenges this years has brought. Although having to learn remotely for a large part of the year, Amber has still achieved excellent grades and has been of great support to her peer. 


Moses Fernandes 

School/College: Lowestoft Sixth Form College 

Nominator: Alice Glass 

Moses is always asking questions about the work, and trying to improve his knowledge, he spends hours out of college revising, and even helps other students when they're stuck on tasks. He's also amazing at teamwork and precise in practical experiments. He's also always kind and a good role model towards me and other students. He works his hardest and stays determined even if an assignment is tough, and inspires me and others regularly to do work and try our best. 

Engineering / Construction learner of the year

Gold - Jacob Brown


School/College: University Technical College Norfolk (UTCN) 

Nominators: David Attwell and Lowell Doheny 

Jacob joined us as a new student at the start of this year but in no time at all he has delighted us with his outstanding enthusiasm and his clear academic ability evident in his Level 3 BTEC Triple Engineering course. He is a very capable engineer and has impressed in all areas of the course. Of particular note is the self-motivation he demonstrates in his studies.  He has set a superb example to his peers in this regard throughout this academic year;  his academic abilities allied to his personal qualities are what makes him one of our stars this year. 

Jacob has also shown a very positive attitude since he has joined us.  In particular, the coronavirus restrictions led to the unfortunate withdrawal rule of some of the stimulating and exciting engineering projects we have planned. Jacob, however, was not beaten by this and showed resilience and ambition to seek out alternative opportunities and to make a success of them, despite the difficulties.  Not only that, but his engagement with online learning equalled his face-to-face learning engagement and his determination to make the most of the situation spoke very well of him. 

Jacob has been described by the staff in our Engineering faculty as being a rock solid student and  from that foundation, he has progressed as an Engineering student and developed as an individual this year. For example, within Engineering his growing confidence has become increasingly apparent as the year has gone on. Now we find that Jacob is responding well to and even seeking out leadership opportunities, such as chairing technical discussions in class between groups of his peers and teaching staff also.  One example of this is how he showed excellent communication skills when presenting his work to the UTCN Industry Liaison Group.  Also, he has met all deadlines, without fail. 

Jacob has also shown flexibility in respect of his engineering enthusiasm this year. He has achieved a range of diverse successes.  For example, he designed a Covid safe product earlier this year, and worked alongside Warren Services (an employer partner) to produce a prototype.  He also worked on the Scholars Programme, organised by the Brilliant Club, to broaden his academic horizons.  As such, he volunteered to participate in university-style tutorials, working with a PhD tutor, to ultimately produce an assignment on the subject of modern technological advances in IVF. The assignment required participating students to work at a key stage higher then their current age level.  Jacob responded very well to this challenge and was able to adapt his class understanding of engineering into a new area of study, that of Biological Engineering. 

Overall, we are delighted to nominate Jacob for a Star of the East award: his teachers have all noted what a remarkable success he's made of his first year in Level 3 study.  Any team Jacob joins performs to an excellent standard; we have a rising star in the engineering sector. 

Silver - Andrew Cross


School/College: University Technical College Norfolk (UTCN) 

Nominators: David Attwell and Lowell Doheny 

Andrew joined us as a new student this year and has made a superb impression from the moment he began. Quite simply, throughout his first year on his BTEC Level 3 Triple Engineering course, he has been a star. 

He has consistently applied himself very professionally to all of his work and all of his teachers can attest to the depth of research he carries out in order to make a success of his work. His communication skills in his written reports are also very good.  He has shown himself to be a dedicated and committed engineer and it is clear that he is very passionate about engineering and always ambitious to develop and master new skills. 

Andrew has also shown great personal qualities in the face of adversity this year.  Due to coronavirus restrictions and the late notice switch to online learning, some potentially very stimulating and exciting Engineering projects were impacted in the spring term.  Andrew did not let this deter him from his studies in any way. He has striven to seek out other opportunities and to make the best of the situation: something which he has succeeded in doing. 

Outside of the classroom and outside of lesson time, Andrew has pursued his passion for engineering, and has involved himself in an array of diverse projects to develop his own skills and expertise. Firstly, Andrew supported the school by working to disassemble, refurbish and finally recommission a large bed 3D printer which had been donated to the school.  This is a piece of technology which, thanks to Andrew’s input, can benefit a variety of students in our setting.  Andrew also worked on an Airsoft project, which involved adapting an airsoft gun, including its electrical and mechanical systems.  In his own time, Andrew has also worked as an Instructables author.  Instructables is a website community for people who like to make things.  Andrew has his own page within that site, which can be visited at he may also soon become a contest judge for the site, grading entrants in Circuits + Workshop contests.  Not only that, but Andrew has also cultivated an interest and skillset in CAD design.  He taught himself how to use Fusion 360 (a CAD package) and he is a contributor to, a website which showcases various engineering projects.  His own contributions can be visited at:  

This year, Andrew participated in the Scholar’s Programme, run by The Brilliant Club charity and has shown that he can apply his Engineering enthusiasm in a cross curricular sense. The topic for the Scholars Programme this year was based on Biological Engineering. This is not his usual area of expertise and Andrew was operating out of his comfort zone but he was able to apply his current engineering knowledge and to make a success of this programme. Finally, Andrew has been singled out for recognition for having brought his knowledge and personal qualities to bear in his work with employers when they visit our school. In particular, his work with Warren Services really impressed their representatives and they have explicitly expressed their admiration for him. Andrew worked alongside Warren Services to refurbish an entire suite of broken 3D printers.  Andrew worked within a tight budget, in his own time, and encouraged other students to participate in the project.  Because of his commitment, Andrew was invited by Warren Services to join their business for work experience, which involved 3 hours travelling per day.  His mentor within the business was so impressed with his communication and attention to detail that he was prepared to offer a full-time apprenticeship role immediately.   

Overall, Andrew has been an exemplary student this year for the attitude and ability he has brought with him into his vocational and technical studies.  We are looking forward to seeing just how far he can push himself over the next year. 

Bronze - Zina Reed


School/College: University Technical College Norfolk (UTCN) 

Nominators: David Attwell and Lowell Doheny 

We are nominating Zina for her work in Engineering as she has been a true star in the subject this academic year.  Zina is studying for the L3 Triple Engineering BTEC and throughout her time on the course, she has been a model student and shown growing leadership potential this year.  Her attendance has been perfect not only in college, but also during the spring term when our setting switched to online learning.  Her route onto the course was a little unusual; she actually started the year as an A-Level student before changing her mind and moving across to the Vocational and Technical route in Engineering.  As such, she began the Engineering course a little later than some of the other students but she has never allowed this to be an obstacle to her progress, in fact the chance to pursue a subject more to her taste seems to have spurred her on to greater efforts.  Since moving onto the Engineering pathway, she has rapidly made up any lost ground and demonstrated all the study skills you might wish to see in a student.  Her application has been notable to all of her Engineering teachers and they are unanimous in regarding her as a suitable nominee for the award.    

In addition to her exceptional attitude and study skills, Zina has also demonstrated superb aptitude in the subject.  She is passionate about Engineering and is working with enormous enthusiasm to specialise in the subject.  With lockdown restrictions, it has been a difficult year for all students.  Various exciting and stimulating projects had to be shelved and this academic year could have ended up as a reduced experience for students.  However, Zina has never allowed that to be the case.  Her response to these misfortunes has been to strive to push for other opportunities and to make the best of any opportunity going.  

Zina has always been a high academic achiever with us, but this year we’ve really seen her passion for Engineering come to the fore.  Equally pleasing has been how she’s succeeded in applying her Engineering knowledge to other contexts.  For example, Zina has worked hard on two virtual work experience programmes with Morgan Sindall exploring roles available in the construction sector.  Zina was so motivated to produce the highest standard of work that she was invited back to facilitate other young people through the process.  A great compliment!  

Zina has also recently become a Peer Mentor for Vattenfall, this involves developing and delivering a workshop exploring the benefits of a wind farm. Zina enjoys all hands on activities and will take every opportunity available to her. Not only that, but she has shown an ability to apply her engineering knowledge to other linked areas of the curriculum.  An example of this would be her work with the Scholar’s Programme (organised by the Brilliant Club) in which the focus this year was Biological Engineering.  Zina produced a superb assignment and was singled out for praise by her course tutor.  Within Engineering, her level of investigation and sourcing in her report writing and project work has been very notable.  

All in all, we have no hesitation in recommending Zina as a worthy nominee for a Star of the East Student Award. 

Sport / Public Services learner of the year

Gold - Ellie Hunter


School/College: East Norfolk Sixth Form College 

Nominator: Jamie Lincoln 

Ellie is an outstanding learner and has shown great dedication and commitment to her studies. She has just completed the second year of the BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science at the college and is on track to achieve the highest grade awardable. Alongside her studies Ellie represents the college’s elite football programme where she has been an integral members of the women’s first team. Ellie has finished her BTEC course a month before her peers which has enabled her to start an apprenticeship with Premier Education as a fill-time sports coach. This is testament to Ellie’s hard work, courageous demeanour and ability to set clear and precise goals that she wishes to achieve. Ellie not only acted as a role model for her own class and the women’s football team but also to other sport and public services students. Ellie acted as a mentor to first year learners who were struggling with their coursework and she helped develop their knowledge, confidence and ability to write fluent assignments. Ellie took pride in her caring and supportive nature.  

Ellie is an exceptional student of a high intellectual ability, her meticulous and determined approach to her Functional Anatomy and Specialised Fitness training work has led her to achieve some pleasing results in her assessments throughout this academic year. Her grades demonstrate her sound analytical and evaluative skills across all aspects of the subject which will serve her well across other scientific areas of the qualification. Outside of her studies, Ellie is a valued member of the college football team and plays at a very good standard for a local ladies team. I have no hesitation in warmly recommending Ellie to you as a Star of the East. In sport psychology Ellie excelled. She quickly absorbed the information and was able to analyse case studies with relative ease suggesting the most suitable interventions and justifying these in detail. Numerous times her work was used as exemplar work for her peers and this even extended to her homework and revision aids which I now show new students as they are of such a high level. She is an exceptional coach exhibiting skills, characteristics and qualities far beyond her years. Her attention to detail and emphasis on differentiation is outstanding and helps ensure all participants benefit and enjoy her sessions. Her coursework for biomechanics and research methods was incredibly strong. Ellie is a resourceful, highly driven and very capable independent learner who will excel at Premier Education. 

Silver - Gabe Oyawa


School/College: East Norfolk Sixth Form College 

Nominator: Marie-Laure Warner 

Gabe started on the Level 3 Uniformed Services in September and was not very confident in his abilities and was worried about how he would cope with the demands of the course, considering that due to lockdown, school came to abrupt end and college was a daunting step up. However, Gabe has faced each challenge head on and grown and grown throughout the year. Whatever the task, he has the attitude to just say yes and gets stuck in. He is amazing in the classroom, he constantly works hard, pushing himself and due to his commitment and hard work, others are being influenced by his positive behaviour and have been pushing themselves also. They have also taken to asking Gabe for advice on what they can do for assignments and projects and Gabe is always more than happy to help and share his ideas and help mentor his peers. He is patient, kind and encouraging of his class mates. He is a distinction student now, and is always up to date with work, even with all the issues in lockdown and having to study from home, he would happily ask questions, stay behind in class for more guidance to ensure he fully understood what was required of him. He always watches and reads the supplementary information I provide the class which has helped him when it comes to his progression with his understanding. During lockdown we encouraged physical fitness to help mental wellbeing and Gabe went above and beyond this, he downloaded the couch to 5K app and was determined to get fit and even encouraged a class mate who lives close by to also get involved. He has been enjoying the course so much that he has joined the college CCF and is doing extremely well with the additional skills and classes being taught to him. He has attended multiple online seminars and talks about joining the Police Service and is now dedicated to joining the Police as a Detective and been researching into the entry routes for this. 

Bronze - Anya Falkus


Special commendation, in recognition of exceptional effort and determination in the face of adversity  

School/College: College of West Anglia 

Nominator: Sean McQuaid 

Anya really is a remarkable student. She is severely visually impaired, and this affects her life daily, however, her attitude and application to learning and life is amazing. She always tries her best at everything she does and is very successful because of this attitude and work ethic. Anya has sought out a range of volunteering and placement opportunities to develop her skills and experiences during her time with us, including hundreds of hours of volunteering at a gym in order to learn and progress her fitness instructing skills. She spent this time working with gym staff and personal trainers to support customers and clients and we received glowing feedback from both customers and staff. This being her last year with us I feel she deserves recognition for all she has achieved in her time here, both across the Level 2 program and then since moving onto the Level 3 sports science program.  

Anya also is a talented swimmer, having been a part of the GB Paralympic swim team, she took a break from swimming to focus on her studies over the last year or so but is planning to resume training later on this year when she goes to university.  

Her work is completed to a very high standard and she always engages well and asks questions in class, she works really well with others and is very sociable. She will be going to UEA in September, she plans to train to be a specialist teacher for visually impaired students, inspiring a future generation. Anya demonstrates an extremely high level of commitment and self-motivation, clearly wishing to make progress and extend her academic, practical and life skills.  Anya really is an incomparable young woman, an inspiration to many and I truly believe she will succeed both in higher education and in life. 

Runners Up


Leah Carey 

School/College: City College Norwich 

Nominator: Ashleigh Humm 

Leah has shown excellent progression throughout the year. She is always aiming for the highest grades and continues to set the bar for her peers. Leah is a high flying student, who won't accept anything below a distinction. A role model to her peers and an excellent all round learner. 


Eva Bodmer 

School/College: Lowestoft Sixth Form College 

Nominator: Adam Pickess 

I am nominating Eva for this award because of her outstanding work throughout a very challenging year. This nomination maybe not be as main stream as the others that you will receive but I feel that Eva needs recognition of the work and effort she has put in over the last year. 

Eva joined the subject late after deciding to change subjects as her current choices were not working out for her. So Eva joined the course around four or five weeks later than everyone else. And Eva will admit that Sport is not her favourite subject of all time. She joined the course and was understandably anxious at what the course entailed and coming into an already settled group. 

It was clear from the outset that Eva had a fantastic work ethic and wanted to make this subject work and achieve the highest grade possible. One of the first remarks that Eva made was "Can I have the work I have missed to catch up on please". And from there Eva has gone from strength to strength. She now consistently achieves the highest grades in the class and not for that to be just a throw away comment over the year and the in year assessments she has never dropped anymore than 5 marks on each paper. Which is an amazing achievement. I would not be surprised if Eva achieved full marks in the summer exam this year.  

And part of the reason for this success is not only her hard work and determination but her organisation and care for her work. The revision posters that Eva has made for the subject are atheistically brilliant but also only contain the key information to make them as useful as possible.  

Considering the roll coaster of an educational journey that this year group as had Eva has well and truly flourished. 


Joshua Vallance 

School/College: City College Norwich 

Nominator: Ashleigh Humm 

Josh has balanced his studies with his passion to pursue his dream of a formula 1 driver. Josh has shown excellent dedication and commitment to his course and along with this has opened up the eyes of his peers to the world of what it takes in karting and formula 1. Josh already has many accomplishments under his belt through his karting, and if he continues I have no doubt he is a future star! 


Chantelle Ketteringham 

School/College: Easton College 

Nominator: Daniel Connelly 

Chantelle is an outstanding young Academy student, who has consistently produced excellent work during these challenging times.  Her commitment to both her BTEC Level 3 Performance and Excellence course and the Women's Football Academy has been exceptional and we are very excited about what she can go on to achieve.  Throughout lockdown her attitude and enthusiasm to be successful really stood out and was an inspiration to her peers.  It is great seeing how all her hard work, effort and capability is getting rewarded with Academic and Sporting success. 

IT / Computing learner of the year

Gold - Keiran Hall


School/College: Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form 

Nominator: Neil Tiddy 

I would like to nominate Keiran for learner of the year.  Keiran is a year 12 student studying the T Level Digital: Digital production, design and development at Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form.  

Keiran has shown dedication and commitment to the T Level Digital, producing excellent work, always completing homework on time and showing commitment to remote learning. Keiran is always fully focussed in lessons and is always striving to achieve his best and looking for ways to excel himself. Keiran also works hard outside of lessons in particular focussing on developing his programming skills further.  

Keiran has gone above and beyond the expectations of the course so far this year. Keiran has been involved in a variety of activities going above the demands of the course. Keiran has entered competitions, one of which his entry was one of three to be highly commended by the BCS. Keiran is also part of the Department for Education student panel where he has the opportunity to discuss his experiences of the T Level with Minister Keegan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills).  In addition to this Keiran has also created promotional material for the T Level Digital which has been used by the Department for Education on their social media channels.  Keiran has been recognised by the sixth form for the number of positive points he has received and is one of the students with the highest number of positive points in the sixth form. 

Keiran is an excellent role model for the other students and is always willing to share experiences and ideas with others alongside helping them when they are struggling. Keiran also engages with guest speakers showing his passion for the subject.  He has also signed up to virtual work experience whilst waiting for the industry placement element of the course to begin. 

In all the time I have been teaching Keiran has also shown enthusiasm for the subject and this is recognised by all of the T Level teaching team. Keiran is a well valued member of the sixth form and I feel Keiran deserves recognition for his dedication, hard work and passion for the T Level Digital. For him to be awarded learner of the year this would be an excellent way for his achievements to be noticed. 

Silver - David Hedge


School/College: University Technical College Norfolk (UTCN) 

Nominators: Mike Beckett and Lowell Doheny 

We wish to nominate David as one of our year 13 stars in the Level 3 Cyber Security qualification that we offer. David, throughout his time with us, has proved himself to be a student of the highest calibre. He is extremely thorough at meeting deadlines and invariably produces work which reaches a good standard. Additionally, he travels a long distance to study with us here at UTCN which reflects his commitment to our setting and to his chosen course and career path. Despite this lengthy travel, his attendance has been 100 percent, as it also was when we switched to online learning during lockdown earlier this year and last year. Overall, he is an extremely consistent student who works to a high grade within the subject. 

Another facet of David’s approach which has particularly impressed has been his dedication towards seeking a career. He communicates his enthusiasm and passion for his subject really well when he liaises with employers during their visits to our setting. He's been very active in seeking apprenticeships and has committed himself this year to speaking to a high number of apprenticeship providers. This desire to arrange and organise the next phase of his life, using and building on his Cyber Security studies, shows us his passion for the subject. All told, David has been a star with us over the two-year Cyber Security course: both this year and last.  We are delighted to be nominating him. 

Bronze - Ben Garrod


School/College: East Norfolk 6th Form College 

Nominator: Neil White 

I have had the pleasure of teaching Ben IT for the past 2 years. He is the politest young man, always has a positive outlook on life and always smiling. Ben is very dedicated to his studies and has achieved the highest grades possible in all of his assignments in the past 2 years. At the start of the course Ben had a basic IT level. He has other passions away from the classroom, so IT is not his only priority. He has shown that he can learn new skills and due to his dedication, he has learnt programming and web site development to an advanced level. This required dedication and resilience as much of this was done during lockdown. Ben continued to work just as hard during the periods of lockdown, if not harder. Ben has passions outside of IT, he is also a gifted musician and is often heard playing the piano in college to an exceptionally high standard. It is not just IT, Ben is predicted to achieve the highest grades in all of his subjects. I feel his positive behaviour in such an awful few years should be rewarded. 

Runner Up


James Buckle 

School/College: East Norfolk Sixth Form 

Nominator: Matthew Rowe 

James is an inspiring student.  He is diligent and not put off by the prospect of hard work.  We have opted to begin our personal Computer Science projects early this year due to everything that has happened, and James has opted to implement a massively complex camera based AI system which will dynamically recognise objects placed in front of a camera.   

James could have chosen a much simpler project and most students who have big ideas like this normally start off with good intent but within a few weeks realise the complexity of it and opt to implement something simpler.   

But not James.  James has not only taken a very technical path, but he has embraced it.  Very quickly writing the background details report to a very high standard and jumping straight into the implementation.  He is doing amazing work.  He already has a camera system that can represent shapes and colours and is now moving onto 3D object recognition.  All of the work James has done, he has done alone.  He is one of the most highly motivated learners that I have every had and truly deserves to be recognised for his efforts. 

Teacher / Tutor of the year

Gold - Erin Patel


School/College: East Norfolk Sixth form college 

Nominators: Jazmine Turrell, Carson Beckett, Tori Oconnor, Marlene Santos, Vassar Loveland, Darcy Blanchard,  

I think Erin should win this award because he is always very supportive with helping students who are either behind in work, or confused with a task. He is extremely creative and always encourages your ideas for photoshoots and will give guidance and advice if needed, he also contributes ideas to ensure that we do the best work we possibly can. Erin offers to stay behind at college to do SET (Study Extension Time) if anyone has any questions or needs further help and wants to catch up on work. Erin always jumps to help whenever you need it and it helps others to extend their knowledge in the subject he teaches (photography), whether it is to shoot or to evaluate pictures that have been taken. I think he should get this award because he is creative and determined, he has a passion for photography that he spreads to others and gives them confidence, if they need it, for their individual ideas if the person thinks they aren't. 

Erin should win this award as he is a teacher who works tirelessly to ensure that his students get the best education possible. He finds creative ways in which he delivers his classes in person and online. Over the lockdown period, he taught his online classes as well as creating homemade videos to further enhance his students learning. He motivates his students to go above and beyond what they think they are capable of and is constantly giving them feedback on everything they produce, so that they can produce the best possible work, and achieve the best grades that they can. He constantly supports all of his students and helps them reach the best results. He is a fun and interactive teacher, who is constantly making students happy, and will go above and beyond to ensure that he makes students laugh and that he brightens up their day. He strives to ensure that all students are getting the most out of the course and exposes his students to a variety of different cultures, so that they are constantly gaining inspiration for their work. 

Winning this award would mean so much to Erin as he constantly works for his students and doesn't always receive the recognition for his hard work. 

Erin Patel is an extremely supportive teacher. He ensures that his students are well understood and  if a student find they are struggling with a particular task, he sets a side a lot of time to make sure  they fully understand using different methods to explain it. Erin is particularly useful when it comes  to helping motivate students by evaluating their work, giving good critical feedback and ways to  move forward in particular areas of their work, discussing different types of approaches to work to  make it more enjoyable and by exploring new a creative things to help influence the student. Above  all of this, Erin is an energetic teacher who ensures a fun and calming atmosphere. This allows him to  be friendly and get to know his students. Which lets him be casual yet effective as a teacher. He also  constantly introduces us to new and exciting subjects other than just photography which can really  help us build up creative ideas, like a book about music he introduced to the class. 

So, that's why I believe Erin should win this award. 

He is a good teacher who makes his students pass the jobs he tells us to do. And photography classes are a lot of fun, not only being silent, but also refreshing your head to have more ideas for work and it also helps us to have ideas with the type of project we have to have. Sometimes, while he helps me with my projects and my bad writing but the rest without him I didn't finish some of my work that was about to end. When you need him, he is always here to help and support and he have a nice taste the music. He helped me in the past when I studied photography because I didn't know how to speak English very well and I had a hard time understanding the work and now I am studying photography again because I like photography.  This year he was very hard on me because I was too late with my work and now that I am not so late.  But now I am trying to create a photograph that helped me with some details here and there.  I thank him very much for teaching photography things. 

He ran 'Enhance' sessions for me to develop my graphic design skills, teaching me how to animate within Adobe Photoshop to develop my graphic design AS level project.  

He also helped my mental health by introducing me to some new music which has helped me to relax whilst working. 

He has helped create photography that I am truly proud of. 

Sliver - Emma Markwell


School/College: Springwood High School 

Nominator: Luke Rawling 

Emma creates an atmosphere that students love to be a part of and are comfortable to get involved in; with her caring nature and dedication to offering first class student support Emma makes a perfect sixth form tutor and an inspirational Fashion teacher. 

Turning Springwood High School into Paris for a night - Emma has organised an annual fashion show within the school for the last 6 years. She involves students of all ages and backgrounds to get involved making outfits, modelling, presenting, organising and running the technical support she sometimes manages to get staff involved as well!  

Emma’s classroom is always open to students and is the type of environment that’s bustling with life every break and lunch time with students that want to design more and learn from Emma. Outside of her subject specialism Emma offers one to one mentoring for sixth form students to support them in their future aspirations as well as discuss their wellbeing. 

As a well-respected and established member of the technology department Emma turns her hand to help out with all the subjects and regularly teaches food technology and woodwork alongside her fashion commitments. 

On Emma’s dedicated YouTube channel,, you will find content from backstitch to beginners to making sausage rolls to eating grasshoppers! Emma’s can do attitude to everything really does rub off on Springwood students and promotes a love of learning beyond the curriculum. Without Emma there wouldn’t be a Fashion course here at Springwood and that is testament to the enthusiasm she has in promoting the subject to new and current students. 

It isn’t by chance that every year we have groups of students successfully applying to fashion courses and fashion management courses at universities across the country. Emma inspires these students to get involved from the moment they enter her classroom. She provides them with the opportunities and skills they need to write a successful application and mentors them throughout the application process.  

Emma really is a star. 

Bronze - Andrew Muir


School/College: Hellesdon High School Sixth Form 

Nominators: Harvey Willmott and Robert Haines 

Lockdown hit everyone extremely hard over the past year, particularly students like myself. I am currently studying BTEC IT at A-Level, and Andrew Muir was always there whether it was via Google Meet, Email or in face to face, and was always able to spare time towards whatever the matter was concerning mine and hundreds of other students studies. He is an extremely supportive teacher to all, no matter their educational standpoint. Always able to come up with creative and helpful ways to get students to understand the task or work at hand. I feel his attitude to teaching is unmatched by most, so therefore feel that winning this award would be one of the small ways in which the thousands of students that he teaches weekly would be able to thank him for all that he does and to show him that the attitude he shows towards teaching and the educational sector as a whole is second to none. 

Mr Muir has taught me for my two years in sixth form as well as for some of my time while in high school here. Throughout all of his lessons I’ve had with him these past two years he has always been energetic and enthusiastic about the lesson and the work whatever it may be. He is always good at explaining things in ways that make them easier to understand by imagining them in some other way or comparing them to something like a game to make them visualisable. I find that from his enthusiasm, in his own way, he is able to make something seem more interesting and more engaging. He makes sure that all students understand a concept or method. Although I he has only taught me for BTEC ICT in sixth form I think that he has had a big influence on me as a student as not only is he a teacher he also acts like a mentor. I know he has given advice to some of my fellow class members on other subjects and generally methods of approaching revision for example which I think counts for going the extra mile as a teacher as he looks out for the wellbeing of his students for their school career as a whole, he’s there for those who need to talk to him about this sort of thing. I think that he deserves this award due to the way he teaches, looks out for all of his students, and shows that he really cares about both the subject and the student as he always makes me and my class mates fell welcome in his class. 

Runners Up


Ina Coubrough 

School/College: Hellesdon High School Sixthform 

Nominator: Jodie Marrison 

Miss Coubrough has helped me so much since I have been at Hellesdon High School and throughout my duration of year twelve. She really deserved this nomination for her commitment, dedication and supportiveness towards all students. 

Michael Beardsley 

School/College: East Norfolk Sixth Form 

Nominator: Rebekah Bainbridge 

Mike is an inspirational teacher who not only has incredibly enthusiasm for his BTEC subjects (Applied Psychology and Health and Social Care), but also loves to share his career experience as a practicing Mental Health Nurse.  

He enriches his teaching in both subjects with his knowledge and real-world experience, and has even done a range of career talks, sharing his career and experiences with many students and inspiring them to pursue their own career ambitions. 

Mike is a fantastic asset to the courses he teaches on, through his own professional experiences, which he uses to enrich his teaching. He has been pivotal in the delivery of topics such as health psychology and psychopathology, bringing the subjects to life and inspiring the students in the process. 

Mike is an amazing role model as he not only channels this enthusiasm and experience through his teaching, but welcomes any student to come and speak to him about their interests in careers in health care. 

As my colleague, Mike is nothing but supportive and always offers a rational and calming ear to overcome challenges, particularly over the past year. 

Cerys Back 

School/College: East Coast College 

Nominator: Aimee Ingram 

Cerys has worked with students as a mentor since she started in September, she has gone above and beyond with her students in supporting them with their learning and mental health. she has been an excellent role model, she is there whenever a student has a problem and has the commitment to help them succeed. She wants students to succeed and will make sure she is there no matter the problem. she deserves the award through her passion and commitment to her students. 


Ashleigh Humm 

Special commendation for clear commitment to excellence in teaching shown through nominations over numerous years. 

School/College: Easton College 

Nominator: Henry Furse, Jordan newman, Danny David James Finch  

She is an extremely hard working teacher who cares very much about her students and strives to assist, coach and better all of her students. Whether it is in class, on the pitch or just working on assignments over the lockdown period, she is always there to help with the best guidance you can ask for! :) 

So nice and funny while still teaching all the information I need at a high and remembering standard.  

Meets all criteria and more and it clearly shows in day to day college works and is further highlighted in the results the class gets. 

Ashleigh is one of the most kind and caring tutors/ teachers in the industry. She has helped me with so much, including assignment work and study. She never fails to make me smile and enjoy my day. She listens too all of the classes worries and concerns. she always makes the most out of her lessons and is an amazing individual. When I'm in her her classroom I feel a warm sensation that just makes me want to learn more and more. She explains things so well that I feel like I am an expert in her topics. She really deserves this award, not only because of the gem she is, but it will make her career. 


Miss Chloe Locke 

School/College: Hellesdon High School 

Nominator: Macie Pope 

I believe Miss Locke should win this award as she has consistently checked in to make sure that all individuals within her class are doing not only ok with their work but also in general. Especially during the lockdowns. She always tries her hardest to make the learning as interesting as possible and takes pride in her work also. She asks regularly if anyone is struggling and focuses work on areas which need more assistance  

Personally she has helped me massively and provided me with great advice for topics outside of health and social care as well as learning and I can talk to her if I have any struggles and I never feel judged. She goes out of her way to make herself available and is very good at responding quickly.  

She is very easy to talk to and is also relatable and I know she is there when needed. She is very bubbly and friendly which makes her approachable. She only started at my school nearly 2 years ago but has had a massive impact in my sixth form life already and without her support I think I would have really struggled. 

Helen Amis and Chloe Locke

Helen Amis - Special commendation for clear commitment to excellence in teaching shown through nominations over numerous years. 

School/College: Hellesdon high school 

Nominator: Millie Slaughter 

The way that Helen and Chloe have gone above and beyond is by helping students, doing it in their own time and staying longer than needed to at school. Also, replying to emails to support students on weekends and doing everything they can do help their students. They will go out their way to make sure we are doing well and can achieve the best you can and push you until you to make you believe in yourself. Also, holding live meets during school holidays and whilst in lockdown learning making sure we all ok and checking on us all and seeing anyway they can support us. This is all in health and social care.

Michael Beckett 

School/College: University Technical College Norfolk 

Nominator: Charlie Billham 

Mr Beckett has repeatedly gone out of his way to provide physical applications for the content on both my cyber security and computing courses, he is committed to making sure we not only have the knowledge to pass our exams, but also the skills to take forward into the workplace. Mr Beckett has shown interest in the subject he teaches, and as such he has inspired me and my fellow students. Mr Beckett is an excellent teacher and this is a great opportunity for him to be recognised and congratulated on it. 

Meet our students who studied vocational courses before university

Click on each of the pictures below to watch and read about current UEA students’ journeys from VTQ to university to help you to make informed choices about your next steps. You'll get to know: why they went to university, their transition from a VTQ to university, and top tips for transition to degree-level study. 

transition resources

If you've already decided that university is right for you, then take a look at our transition resources. There may be some teaching and learning methods at university that you are already familiar with and some that you may not have encountered before, so to help you make the transition from VTQ to degree study - our 10 minute guides will help prepare you for univeristy study.