A YORK educator who goes ‘above and beyond’ has been nominated for community award.

Fliss Else, a pathways tutor who has worked at York College for ten years, is nominated for Education Hero within the York Community Pride Awards 2024.

Fliss, who lives in Copmanthorpe, said: “I was really surprised by the nomination.

“I’m seriously honoured to know that someone went to the trouble of nominating me.

“I walked round in a bit of a daze yesterday.”

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Fliss explained her role is to prepare young people aged 16-25, usually with additional needs or disabilities, for adult life and further qualifications after their education at York College, or for employment in the future, whether paid or volunteered.

She takes a provision of around 20 students with education, health and care (EHCP) plans through a City and Guilds employability skills course.

Modules include Maths and English but Fliss’ nomination testimonial highlighted the numerous ambitious projects she weaves into the subject matter, all approached with the immense ambition she has for her students to prepare them for the next steps.

Her work includes a drama group incorporating pathway and non-pathway students, merging Shakespearean text faithful to its origins, to the lexicon of Catherine Tate, all told by a gangsta narrator.

'We teach the module, but we try to go above and beyond'

It’s so popular that ex-pathway students have come back to York College to join in.

Fiss said: “The main point is not necessarily the performance, it’s about bringing the students together for a social time at lunchtime when they get to chat, with a common interest.

“We’re doing ‘Romeo and Juliet In Da Hood’ this year.

“I listen to how the students are progressing and tailor their individual scripts.”

One of the pathway students who blossomed under the watchful eye of Fliss is going on to apply for a performing arts course at Doncaster College.

York Press: Entries are still open to the York Community Pride Awards 2024Entries are still open to the York Community Pride Awards 2024 (Image: Newsquest)

She gave another example of her work: “One of my modules is the awareness of drugs and alcohol, which is important in preparing young people going out into the world.

“We teach the module, but we try to go above and beyond.

“I create a mock-up pub in my classroom with a fake bar, we make fake drinks out of water, food colouring and shaving foam but as we do it, we’re examining the ‘alcoholic content’ of the real drinks.

“We can then use the math skills to measure it out to determine the impact of drink.

“I also then bring out what we call ‘drunk goggles’ that you can put on and wear – then we pilot remote control cars and can see the impact of your reaction speeds.

“And then we create some characters, and we look at all the problems that can happen if you become addicted to drugs or misused alcohol.

“And this year we’ve done some script writing, each student has done an individual bit of the script and together, we’ve written an episode of a soap called ‘YorkshireEnders’.

“In it, we’ve been tackling some fairly gritty topics and been able to really discuss the issues they’ve been learning about.

“They’ve been making these into a storyline which makes it more real, more personal and they can talk about those characters and the impact it has on them.”

Working alongside different ‘brilliant supportive learning practitioners’ really helps Fliss to put her modules on.

She said: “They take the barriers away, so we can give them preparation that includes diversity and other experiences which prepare them for the real world, but genuinely prepare them beyond what the qualification requires and push them to experience those things.

“That allows us as tutors to create these more challenging lessons for the students, which might be outside their comfort zone.

“My colleague Michelle Scott, the other pathways tutor, is absolutely brilliant, and she is a person who is brilliant with the students and puts them at the heart of everything she does, she’s so open-minded to some of the crazy ideas that I come up with.

“We work really well together and I couldn’t do it without her.

“It’s a brilliant group to work with.”