A NATIONAL celebration of teachers has recognised the work of Selby College tutors for giving their students the best possible start in their career.

The Selby College Hospitality and Catering Team has scooped the Pearson Silver Teaching Award category: FE Team of the Year after being selected from more than 20,000 nominations.

Founded in 1999 by Lord Puttnam, the Pearson Awards are an annual celebration of exceptional teachers and teaching, and recognize the life-changing impact of an inspirational teacher on the lives of their students.

The Selby team was one of 55 schools and colleges across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to win a Silver Teaching Award.

The core team comprises eight professionals, led by catering manager Adrian Dawes whose vision is to make his department the best in the country, educating students to the highest of standards to help them secure opportunities at prestigious international restaurants.

In the three years Adrian has managed the department, it has been transformed, students are now in the top one per cent nationally and enrolments have grown while student satisfaction rates are high.

The college is equipped with fully-functioning kitchens, restaurant and bar, and has built a reputation for the quality of its locally-sourced food and drink as well as for producing serious catering talent.

Students are trained to work in various roles, from cooking on a street stall to baking for a theatre reception or serving five-course meals for a Michelin Star restaurant.

Each student is also expected to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the business side of their trade, both in the kitchen and front of house theatre.

Allan Stewart, college principal, said he was delighted.

"This esteemed award is the education sectors’ highest honour and exemplifies excellence in all aspects of teaching. This award demonstrates to future students, parents and employers that you can get the best start in life here at college.”

Tutors Liz Brighton and Sam Grimmer, from the department , said they were humbled but delighted to have been nominated. We thoroughly enjoy the role we play in helping students to gain the skills leading to them finding exciting and rewarding careers at some of the best restaurants and eateries locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.”

Selby and Ainsty MP Nigel Adams said: “I have visited the college on several occasions and you cannot fail to be impressed by the energy and enthusiasm shown by staff and students. The students gain a wide and varied experience of the kinds of skills they will need to have for the career they want and the college inspires them to reach and achieve their goals."

The Selby team will now join fellow Silver Award winners at the UK finals of the Teaching Awards on October 26, where 10 Silver Award winners will receive a Gold Award. Before then the team have been invited to a House of Commons Reception in June.