The Adult Learners’ Festival is something that HEART holds dear as an annual focus on the value of lifelong learning and the benefits that this brings to individuals, communities and society as a whole.
For the last two years HEART has sponsored an award at the Yorkshire & Humber Awards Ceremony. For 2015 the national organisers, NIACE, changed the format and this year the regional awards are for the whole Northern region, being celebrated across the North West, North East and Yorkshire & Humber.
Despite HEART being a partnership that exists and operates in West Yorkshire we have always taken the approach that learning should be celebrated wherever and whenever it takes place. As such we have once again sponsored the HEART Raising Aspirations Award at the new ‘Northern Region’ ceremony.
So, at Leeds Civic Hall on Friday 5 June 2015 our winner, Christine Foskett, was announced by June Durrant, Deputy Principal of Kirklees College and Deputy Chair of the HEART Board.
June provided a ‘HEARTfelt’ (apologies – we had to get that in) speech in which she referred to how important it is to support all learners, regardless as to the level and volume of learning being undertaken, the need to ensure that suitable initial advice and guidance is provided to ensure that learners take the right path for them and of course how wonderful it is to celebrate achievements. June commended all those nominated and all those receiving awards before going on to announce the HEART Raising Aspirations award winner.
Christine was nominated by her WEA North West Region tutor, Margaret Normansell. Christine had left school after her GCSEs, got married and had children and subsequently found herself as a single mother facing uncertainty over future career options and decided that any hope of a decent career relied on returning to learn. Over a period of time she has completed a number of courses culminating in obtaining a BA Hons. Histroy and subsequently a Post Graduate Certificate of Education. Christine referred to the highlight of her learning journey to date as obtaining the 2:1 in history but quickly went on to say that her learning is now superceded by the joy she is getting from supporting others to learn. A truly worthy winner of the HEART Raising Aspirations Award 2015!
In selecting Christine we were struck not only by Christine’s academic progress but her ability to overcome significant personal barriers. This however was not uncommon for all the nominees and what tipped the balance for Christine was her obvious passion and enthusiasm for learning and not just for herself but in passing on this passion to those that she encountered in her teaching practice whilst completing her PGCE. As a result, the nomination demonstrated clearly the ‘multiplier’ effect of one individual rediscovering the joy of learning and being prepared to help those around them to do likewise.
We congratulate Christine and wish her every success in her teaching career, safe in the knowledge that her students will benefit from her guidance and support.