THE principal and chief executive officer (CEO) of Gobowen’s Derwen College has thanked every member of staff after it scooped a highly prestigious award in the further education equivalent of the Oscars.

The college was named as Specialist Provider of the Year in the TES FE Awards – one of the UK’s top awards for recognising those that work in further education.

Meryl Green, CEO and principal, said that staff and students at the college were 'over the moon' to receive such fabulous news during what she called an incredibly challenging year.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to every single member of staff at Derwen College," she said.

"This award recognises the commitment, imagination, passion and resilience of staff across college campuses. It has been a year of triumphs for the college during some challenging times.

"We are honoured to have been recognised by judges who are experts in the field of education."

The Specialist Provider of the Year category has many contenders of an impressive calibre who have all worked tirelessly to support people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in further education.

"We couldn’t be happier to have received an award of such high esteem.”

Tes FE Awards 2021 lead judge Lynette Barrett said: “During such adverse and difficult times, this college has shown how it has remained focused on student achievements and outcomes.

"The pandemic did not hold this college back; it initiated new projects, which meant student outcomes could be achieved, and learners remained safe and engaged in their education.

“The staff worked relentlessly to remain open and create new ways of working, which allowed some of the most vulnerable young people in society to achieve their outcomes without compromise.”

Derwen College chair of governors, Kathleen Kimber, added: “We have long been proud of how Derwen works with its students and their achievements never fail to amaze us.

"Recently the staff have gone above and beyond what could have been expected of them.

"Their commitment and creativity during long periods when students were having to isolate in bubbles here or spend time at home have been outstanding."

Judges praised the college for 16-25 year olds with SEND, for doing everything in its power to continue its mission to create a world without barriers even during a pandemic.

Staff across curriculum, care and support came together with parents, carers, supporters and industry partners to ensure work, independence skills, health, fitness, sports and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award all continued, despite the challenges.

Throughout online delivery, the college constantly sought feedback from students and learners, and adapted resources and delivery to ensure their needs were met.

To find out more about Derwen College, or to register for the Summer Open Day on 26th June go to