It’s a great result for students at Bede Sixth Form

There’s been plenty to celebrate at Billingham’s Bede Sixth Form College this results day.

All the hard work paid off as Bede students achieved a 99% A level pass rate, with 100% success in 16 subjects, and more students achieving the highest grades.

Bede Sixth Form College

“It is incredible to see our learners doing so well and getting the results they deserve, particularly following the challenges they have faced in recent years,” said Bede’s acting principal Patrick Jordan.

“This is the first time these students have undertaken the formal national examination process, and they have shown massive resilience and produced a strong set of results here at Bede that they should be massively proud of.”

Results day success included high grades of A* to B up almost 5% at the college compared to pre-covid results, and 7% of Bede students this summer achieved an A*, the highest possible grade.

All of this comes just weeks after Bede, a part of the Education Training Collective, achieved a ‘Good’ Ofsted result with ‘Outstanding’ features, including leadership and management, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and education programmes for young people.

The sixth form also recently announced a £2.4m construction project to expand its facilities, increasing capacity for an additional 200 students, with nine new classrooms and breakout spaces.

Bede currently delivers a wider range of A level and A level equivalent subjects, along with full-time study options in sport and public services, to more than 700 students.

For the class of 2022 many will now head off to their first-choice universities, apprenticeships, and future goals.

Patrick, a former Bede student himself, said: “Against a backdrop of disruption and uncertainty for all young people over the last few years, this is a really solid set of results that will now set our students up for their future choices. We look forward to seeing all that they now go on to achieve.”

Education Training Collective rated Ofsted ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding’ features

High praise from Ofsted is another great result for the colleges, students and staff, that make up the Education Training Collective (Etc.).

In its first full inspection since the merger of Stockton Riverside College and Redcar and Cleveland College, the group, which also includes Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training and The Skills Academy (Billingham), has been rated ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding’ features.

Ofsted principals 2022

The report, published today, describes a college group where students are “very proud to study” and they benefit from “a strong culture of positive respect”.

Group principal and chief executive, Phil Cook, said: “As a group our aim, above all else, is to provide high quality local colleges for local people. Gaining outstanding for leadership and management is a fantastic accolade for the group, but also and importantly for those stakeholders we work with; you do not achieve outstanding without excellent partnerships that have a direct impact on our students learning.”

The college group was also rated ‘Outstanding’ for behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and education programmes for young people, and rated ‘Good’ in all other areas. Phil added: “It is reasonable for parents, stakeholders and our communities to assume our provision for young people is now outstanding, as that’s what Ofsted has said and that is brilliant news. For other aspects of our provision such as our apprenticeships and our work with adults and high needs students, Ofsted has commended us and again our communities can be assured that such services are judged as being really really good.”

It also marks a milestone for Redcar and Cleveland College. The college had previously received an inadequate rating before merger, but in the view of Ofsted has been “transformed” and is now considered “the college of first choice” for many young people living in the borough.

Preparing to hand over the reins later this year, after nine years leading the college group, Phil said: “To deliver the service our communities deserve takes hard work and determination, from our staff, leaders, governing body and, of course, our amazing students, not least as we faced the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic.

“That’s why it is fantastic to now see our incredible teams, across the group, and our partners, receive external recognition.”

Inspectors also recognised the support that learners, of all ages and abilities, receive and the enrichment programme that “helps them to develop their wider employability skills, confidence, and resilience.”

There was further praise for the curriculum, which is shaped to meet local economy and skill demands while, working with specialist providers, the group is able to offer a “niche provision” giving people access to local jobs that would normally be out of reach.

The report said: “Students and apprentices benefit from useful and relevant training in their local communities which meets the needs of employers and the priorities of the local enterprise partnership.”

This has resulted in exciting projects in the pipeline, further supporting their local communities, such as the addition of Redcar’s Clean Energy Education Hub, plans to extend facilities at NETA Training and developments at Bede.

Chairman of the Etc. governing board, Mark White OBE DL, said: “As a board of governors we welcome this Ofsted result which is testament to the commitment of all our teams and the work they do to deliver for our communities.”

Retiring in the summer after 27 years on the boards of the colleges that make up the Etc., culminating in his current role as chair, Mark added: “I am extremely proud to have been a part of this incredible group of colleges, of everything it has achieved and everything it will go on to achieve in the future.”

Education Training Collective announces new Chair of the Board

The Education Training Collective (Etc.) today announced that Stuart Blackett will be taking the reins as the college group’s Chairman of the Board.

The chief financial officer at Railpen will be joined by Dot Smith, as the newly appointed Vice Chair.

Together the pair are looking forward to the opportunities ahead and leading the group to further success. Stuart said: “It is an exciting time to be a part of the college group, and to be here in the Tees Valley where there is so much potential.”

A financial and strategic leader with a passion for the area and a strong belief in the value of education, dad-of-two Stuart is looking forward to the job ahead.

Surrounded by what he describes as “a really great board of governors”, and following in the footsteps of current chairman, Mark White OBE DL, Stuart said: “Etc. is an important organisation with a great responsibility. We are building on a strong foundation and that’s a great time to do anything.”

With its roots in Teesside, the Education Training Collective is made up of Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training, Redcar and Cleveland College, Stockton Riverside College, The Skills Academy and Tees Valley Catering.

Inspired from the moment he first walked through the door, Stuart said: “To have the opportunity to learn in a college like ours must be fantastic. When I look back to my own school days and those draughty prefab classrooms, it is like a different world, and I am proud to now be a part of it.”

A dad of two boys, 13 and 11, Stuart said his focus in recent years has increasingly sharpened on education and the opportunities available to young people. As a part of the college group’s governing board, that has rapidly become a priority.

He said: “It’s not only about the 16 to 21-year-olds. There are people with so many diverse skills and backgrounds, of all ages, from different walks of life. We need to provide opportunities for as many of those people as we can, and we have an incredible platform here to achieve that.”

Working with Railpen for 21 years, a governor at Red House School, and former vice chairman of the Railway Housing Association in Darlington, Stuart said: “Every organisation I have worked for or with has a strong purpose. Here at the Etc. we are providing people with opportunities, perhaps the most important being a chance to change their life.”

And he believes there’s much more to look forward to.

He said: “New developments across the college group reflect the changing landscape of our economy and position us well for exciting opportunities ahead. We are seeing a generation with a different skills demand and the college group is well placed to facilitate that.”

Joining the Etc. as a governor, alongside a host of other commitments, as well as the demands of a young family, Stuart explained: “The ethos of the organisation, the staff, and what we are here to do, really resonates with me.”

Looking to his fellow board members and colleagues across the group, he said: “Being surrounded by fantastic people has made my role as governor, and now the transition to chairman, so much easier.

“I didn’t set out to become chair of the board, but what an honour!”

Work starts on £3.2m Clean Energy Education Hub

Construction of Redcar and Cleveland College’s Clean Energy Education Hub is underway in a move to help prepare people for future green jobs coming to the Tees Valley.

First spades in the ground on the site on Corporation Road mark the development of the £3.2m facility which will deliver the skills needed by employers in the clean energy and renewable sector, and also drive the ambitions of young people across the borough.

CEEH June 22

Redcar and Cleveland College principal, Jason Faulkner, said: “We have been bowled over by the level of support this initiative has generated, both across the region and nationally.”

Primarily funded by the Town Deal Fund, the hub will provide a practical learning environment that simulates real workspaces to service domestic and industrial markets.

The college is working with the Redcar Town Deal Board, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, the combined authority and industry leaders to ensure the hub is positioned to support the area’s emerging green economy.

Jason said: “Teesside and the Tees Valley is lining itself up to be a green cluster for global businesses leading the way in greener, cleaner ways of living and working. By working with leaders in the clean and renewable energy industry we will be able to ensure a training provision that responds to the real demands of the sector, not just in the short term but also in five, 10, 15 years’ time.”

Contractor Britcon has been appointed to deliver the project, a 1000 square metre new build which will link to the college’s existing building with its own access route. Doors are due to open to its first learners in January 2023.

With additional investment from the Education Training Collective and the Skills Development Fund, the hub will deliver training to school leavers and adult learners, as well as offering higher education, commercial, professional, and bespoke employer-led programmes.

The project has been further boosted by the commitment of a donation from bp to bring community engagement and further development to the hub, with a focus on raising awareness of the opportunities within the clean energy sector among local school children. The company has announced plans for three projects in the region: HyGreen Teesside, which will utilise green hydrogen, H2Teesside, which will produce blue hydrogen, and first-of-a-kind gas-fired power and carbon capture project NZT Power.

Masudur Rahman, bp’s social performance manager in the UK, said: “It’s great to see work starting on the Clean Energy Education Hub at Redcar and Cleveland College. We’re proud to support their efforts to inspire young people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and help equip them with the skills to pursue careers in the low carbon industry. Supporting the next generation energy innovators is an important part of our wider backing of Teesside helping to create a net zero future and nurturing the talent we will need to help get us there.”

Darren Winter is chair of the Redcar Town Deal Board, he said: “The Town Deal aims to make a positive difference to the lives of people in Redcar and the surrounding area. The hub is great news for all young people in the borough which is specially designed to equip them with the relevant skills needed in jobs now and in the future, especially in sectors in emerging technologies.”

Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, added: “The hub will provide a fantastic opportunity for residents to gain the skills which will lead to a well-paid and successful career in the industries of the future. Our borough will be at the heart of a green energy revolution, and we want all our residents to benefit from this.”

Describing Teesside as being “at the epicentre of the UK’s clean industrial future”, Jacob Young, Conservative MP for Redcar, said: “With everything from new hydrogen technology to the manufacturing of wind farm blades coming to Teesside, renewable energy is perhaps the most crucial link in that chain.

“What is more crucial still is that it is Teessiders who benefit from the high-quality, well-paid jobs being created in this exciting new sector. And so, I not only welcome, but applaud the creation of Redcar and Cleveland College’s £3.2m Clean Energy Education Hub.

“By providing Teessiders with the training programmes our new industry needs, we’re ensuring local people will become the primary beneficiaries of the UK’s green industrial revolution.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “I’m delighted to see spades in the ground on this exciting project. Schemes like these are helping to give current and future generations the best possible chance to take advantage of the opportunities we’re creating within the safer, cleaner and healthier industries of tomorrow.

“With the government and major global companies such as bp investing in Teesside, this centre will help support the sectors of the future that are central to my plan for jobs, a plan that is already creating good-quality, well-paid jobs for local workers.

“This is the latest in a long list of initiatives boosting our region’s clean energy credentials, building on our work to become the UK’s premier location for offshore wind and supporting projects like Net Zero Teesside which is developing the UK’s first decarbonised industrial cluster. Together these will supercharge plans for Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool to become a national powerhouse for clean energy.”

Nick Shepherd, managing director of Britcon, added: “We are delighted to be working in collaboration with Redcar and Cleveland College and all stakeholders to deliver this exciting green energy training building.

“We have a strong delivery pedigree within the North-east and our strategy is always to maximise the use of local suppliers and support employment and training opportunities. This project provides another fantastic opportunity to leave a real local legacy whilst supporting the important development of the clean energy sector.”

New Chief Executive to take the helm of thriving Teesside college group

There are so many reasons why Grant Glendinning is looking forward to taking the lead at the Education Training Collective (Etc.).

An established leader in the sector, he has watched with interest not only the growth and achievement of the college group, which comprises Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training Group, Redcar and Cleveland College, Stockton Riverside College and the Skills Academy, but also the transformation of the Tees Valley’s industrial landscape.

Now appointed to be chief executive and group principal, Grant said: “This is a high performing college group situated in an area with so much future potential. I can’t wait to get started.”

Etc. Grant Glendinning

Grant, who is the current executive principal for NCG North, will join Etc. after the summer, taking the reins from Phil Cook who has led the college group since 2013.

Since his arrival, Phil has overseen the transformation of the college, initially Stockton Riverside College and Bede Sixth Form College, then NETA and more recently Redcar and Cleveland College.

Phil said of his time at Etc.: “I believe passionately in high quality local colleges for local people and I think that’s what we’ve delivered. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with so many amazing people, who are totally committed to their students and their local communities, and it’s been a privilege to do so, and something that I will cherish. However, it’s now time for me to move on, to new challenges, and I do so with the assurance that we have a committed and incredibly able set of governors, who I believe have made an excellent appointment in Grant. I know that Etc.’s journey is far from over and that there is much more to come.”

Looking forward to continuing that journey, Grant, who is originally from Hartlepool, said the transformational nature of the area was part of the role’s appeal.

Plus, having left the area as a teen for university and going on to a career in teaching, leadership and management working in Eastern Europe, London and the North-west, he said, for him, this feels like a return home.

Still with family in Billingham and Hartlepool, he said: “Growing up in Teesside, it was a very different place, it felt like industry had had its day and that continued for decades. To see the repurposing of the Tees Valley with strong economic and political leadership is fantastic. It is a really transformative story.”

While Grant describes his return to Teesside as “a happy coincidence”, he said the thought of now being able to work in the area and add value and impact was a real draw.

Driven by a passion for further education and helping get young people and adults into meaningful jobs, he said: “It is an incredibly exciting time for the Tees Valley, not only when you think about Teesworks and the cradle of clean energy the area might become, but also the future vision for town centres in Stockton, Redcar, Middlesbrough, Darlington and Hartlepool, the opportunities for global inward investment that the freeport is going to bring.

“We could be looking at something akin to a boomtown for Teesside. What a fantastic time to join Etc. and be a part of all that.”

Mark White OBE DL, Chair at Etc., said: “As you would expect, recruiting a new chief executive and group principal for our group was always going to be a robust and rigorous process. Phil Cook has had such significant impact – for which the board is incredibly grateful – and his leadership has transformed this group to such an extent that we needed someone with the skillset and background to be able to pick up the baton and run with it.

“I am delighted that Grant has been appointed to the role and I know that the board is very much looking forward to working with him when he joins.”

Chair Mark White announces his retirement from the Etc. Board

Community champion Mark White OBE DL has proven himself a true ambassador for education in Teesside.

But now, after 27 years on the governing boards of the colleges that make up the Education Training Collective (Etc.), he has announced his retirement from his role as Etc. chairman of the board.

With a fierce passion for the group, its staff, students and partners, it’s a move, he admits, will be an emotional one, however, he said: “Nothing lasts forever, and people need to know when it’s the right time to step back. I am proud of what has been achieved by the group in Thornaby, Billingham, Stockton and Redcar.

“I will miss it more than I could possibly imagine but I’m confident I am leaving the group in a good place, with a fabulous governing board and great leaders and staff.”

A well-known face across the Tees Valley and beyond, Mark has undertaken countless governance and committee roles, not just with the college group but also in primary schools, with North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, and nationally with the Association of Colleges’ Charitable Trust and AoC Sport, to name but a few.

Spending his professional career at Teesside University, up until his retirement as Head of the Vice Chancellor’s Office and Secretary to the Board of Governors in 2016, he entered the world of further education when he took a governance role at Billingham’s Bede Sixth Form College in 1995.

Mark said: “Not knowing much about college governance or colleges in general at that stage, it was a decision that changed my life. Bede triggered something in me, I have taken on a lot since then.”

Today the 64-year-old is also a Deputy Lieutenant of County Durham, Chair of the Thornaby Town Deal Board and Chair of Stockton Strategic Education Board, all of which he is extremely proud.

While stepping down from the Etc. will no doubt offer the chance to enjoy some of the nice things in life, such as more time spent seeing live theatre and music, or he suggests maybe even a holiday, Mark added: “For reasons I can’t explain I have always wanted and continue to want to make a contribution.”

Through the Etc., which incorporates Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training, Redcar and Cleveland College, Stockton Riverside College and The Skills Academy, he has been well positioned to do just that.

“All we do is so that young people and adults can have the best life chances, so communities can prosper and so employers can find staff that will help their businesses and the local economy to grow and flourish,” said Mark, who was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List with an OBE in 2016.

Over the last 27 years he has played a part in the growth of the group, seeing the merger of Bede with Stockton Riverside College in 2008, resulting in an impressive new build launched in 2009, a merger with Stockton-based engineering specialist NETA Training in 2015, the development of The Skills Academy in Billingham, the same year, and most recently the completion of a successful merger with Redcar and Cleveland College in 2018.

Mark said: “We have never set out to grow for the sake of growing. We have always made decisions to serve our community and now Etc. has a reputation for partnerships that are built on mutual respect.”

Describing himself as a “glass half full person”, a quality that proves a real asset when it comes to motivating and inspiring others, Mark said: “Hope, ambition, aspiration and achievement, I think they are my favourite four words. I believe everyone should have hope, to be ambitious and have aspiration. I believe everyone is capable of achievement, and that is what colleges are for.”

College group is first in the Tees Valley to achieve carbon neutrality

Green efforts have proven top class for the colleges that make up the Education Training Collective (Etc.).

Now, after working hard to offset its carbon footprint, the group has achieved certified “carbon neutrality” – the first college in the Tees Valley to achieve this.

Since receiving the Investors in the Environment Silver Standard in July 2021, staff and students across the group have continued to step up their efforts.

Group-wide measures such as the procurement of electricity from 100% green sources to a dramatic reduction in wastepaper, are all having a positive impact.

Phil Hastie

Phil Hastie, group executive director – planning and infrastructure at the Etc. said: “Achieving carbon neutral status is just another step on our green journey and is something to be truly celebrated, however what is more important to recognise is the work that has gone into getting us to this point and the work that will continue going forward.”

Through work with Carbon Neutral Britain, the UK’s Carbon Offsetting Initiative which provides support to British organisations making an impact on climate change, the group has provided financial support to projects in the renewables sector, offsetting its carbon footprint of 696tCO2e, and as a result achieving certified carbon neutral status for the last academic year.

The Etc., which comprises Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training, Redcar and Cleveland College, Stockton Riverside College and The Skills Academy, acknowledges it has a continued responsibility to improve sustainability and has committed to recognising and seeking to reduce the impact it has on the environment, and to enable staff and students to do the same.

The group established a Green Initiatives Group (GIG), made up of more than 30 volunteers from across the colleges, to create focused action plans on areas such as staff and student engagement, waste energy, procurement and travel.

A recently introduced Environment Award at the group’s annual staff awards, is also putting a spotlight on those departments making the most significant impact on the environment in the last academic year.

Phil said: “Through engaging staff and students in understanding and improving the impact we have on the environment as a group of colleges and as individuals, we are seeing vast improvements in the ways we are working, our paper and utility usage, our travel to and from sites, even down to the promotional items we give out at our open events – so getting to this point is the result of a real group effort.”

The college group is now looking to continue along the green path it has paved out, with future plans including a carshare programme for staff, litter picks for staff and students in addition to a commitment to a 2% annual reduction in resource use which, along with further monitoring and reporting of activities, will ultimately lead to the group securing the Investors in the Environment Green award.

Mark White, chair of the Etc. governing board said: “We all have a role to play in helping to protect the future of our planet, that is why the sustainability agenda is a priority to us as a college group. To now be among those leading the way in our efforts is an incredible achievement and testament not just to the group but to every individual who is playing their part. But the work does not stop there, there is much more to be done and we look forward to continuing our green journey.”

Steve Frampton, FE/HE climate commissioner and chair of AoC Services Board, said: “This is a fantastic achievement, particularly coming ahead of the Department for Education’s Climate Change and Sustainability Strategy published this week. The result of hard work and commitment by everyone involved, it shows what can be achieved and should be an inspiration to others.”