Derwen College, based near Oswestry, has won the specialist provider of the year award at the 2021 Tes FE Awards, announced last night in a virtual ceremony.

The Tes FE Awards, now in their 11th year, celebrate the outstanding aspects of the UK’s FE sector, applauding excellence and rewarding innovation.

The Tes Magazine and website is the most trusted source of education news and views in the UK. Tes runs these awards, alongside the Tes Schools Awards and the Tes Independent School Awards.

Derwen College’s mission is to create a world without barriers for people with special educational needs and disability (SEND).

When the pandemic hit, the college didn’t just survive: it thrived. 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.

The college also set up an onsite charity shop, an online eBay shop and a new takeaway service to ensure that work placements for students continued, and staff worked tirelessly to host annual events virtually, including open days, a prom and graduation ceremony.

As a result of staff commitment, the new Telford satellite campus opened as planned in September 2020 and, today, is delivering much-needed provision to students with SEND in the area.

Tes head of FE Julia Belgutay said: “Further education providers have excelled in what has been a truly challenging year, and each one of the amazing individuals, teams and institutions who have won a Tes FE Award tonight are testament to that. Our judges were so impressed with what teachers, support staff and leaders have managed to achieve this year. The whole FE sector should be proud of these winners and I want to congratulate all of them on a brilliant achievement.”

Gillian Keegan, the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, congratulated the award winners. She said: “To win an award is always an honour, but to win one in a year like the one we’ve just had is truly remarkable. FE will play a key role as we try to recover from the pandemic.”

The Tes FE Awards were held virtually this year to comply with the ongoing coronavirus restrictions. In previous years the awards ceremony has been held at the Grosvenor Hotel, on London’s Park Lane.

For full details on all the winners of the Tes FE Awards visit:

For information about all the shortlisted schools and the awards visit:

Follow all the reaction to the Tes FE Awards with the hashtag #TesFEAwards

This year the Tes FE Awards were sponsored by Mindful Education.

Mindful Education works in partnership with colleges, employers and training providers across the UK to deliver media-rich professional courses in accounting, management, law and human resources.