Hull College Named FE College of the Year at Educate North Awards

Hull College celebrated a double win at this year’s Educate North Awards 2024 – including the prestigious title of Further Education College of the Year.

Now in its tenth year, the Educate North Awards celebrate excellence, world class achievement and improvement across the University, Higher Education (HE), Further Education (FE), and Sixth Form sectors in the North of England.

More than 400 nominees, guests and judges attended the glittering awards ceremony, held at Manchester’s Hilton hotel earlier this month, as staff from the college jubilantly took to the stage to collect the Further Education College of the Year and Innovation Awards.

Judges, drawn from across business and academia, highlighted the college’s remarkable transformation over the past 18 months and its unwavering commitment to excellence as key factors in securing the College of the Year award.

Spearheaded by a new leadership team, this impressive turnaround has seen a significant improvement in teaching, learning, and overall student experience at the college. Notable achievements include a top 25% national ranking in student success, along with a ‘Good’ Ofsted grade – including ‘Outstanding’ adult provision and ‘Strong’ for addressing regional and national skills – which represented its best Ofsted result since 2008.

The college clinched the Innovation Award for its ground-breaking AI Academy initiative. Recognising the demands of the fourth industrial revolution, the college developed a comprehensive programme addressing the pressing need for AI-focused digital literacy.

The AI Academy had three distinct strands: one for students, another for staff, and a third catering to businesses, impacting over 2,000 individuals and more than 150 organisations through innovative technology, enhancing their proficiency and creativity with AI tools. In addition, training has been delivered to support 16 South African colleges, 45 further education and skills providers, and two local authorities.

Expressing her elation at the remarkable feat, Debra Gray MBE, CEO & Principal of Hull College, said: “We are delighted to have won not one, but two Educate North Awards. Being named FE College of the Year is a truly wonderful achievement for the college, and it means a great deal to our entire college community. It is a fantastic recognition of all of the hard work that our staff and students have – and continue to – put in.

Tthese awards are a testament to all of the fantastic work that is taking place in our college, as well as the ongoing contribution we make to our local community, and it is fantastic to be recognised in this way. Excellence and high standards sum up the college perfectly, and I am extremely proud to lead such a dedicated senior leadership team, along with our inspirational teachers and support staff.”

While celebrating the accolades, Gray also reiterated the college’s commitment to continuous improvement and added: “Awards and accolades are a great way to celebrate our achievements and progress, but we’re not slowing down in our ambition and focus to become even better at what we do.

“Through our rigorous approach to quality, our dedication to supporting our students and helping them to exceed their potential, along with our collaborative approach towards teaching, learning, and employer engagement, we never stand still and the college will always strive to develop, improve, and progress.”