‘Absolutely thrilled’. That was the reaction of Crawley College lecturer Clare Steere, who was named FE Sussex Members’ Higher Education Teacher of the Year.
Clare received her award at this week’s Sussex Teacher of the Year ceremony, which was held in Brighton on Wednesday (13 June).
The awards recognise and pay tribute to the expertise and dedication that have become the hallmark of an outstanding teacher – with categories for further, primary and secondary teachers.
Clare, who teaches early years’ studies at Crawley College at degree level, said: 'I heard I had been put forward, but I didn’t really think anything would come from it.
'I’m absolutely thrilled, but I am so lucky to have a group of really special students who just want to be the best and strive to achieve that.
'Everything I do at work is for my students, challenging them and giving them theknowledge and tools they need to reach the professional status they are working for.
'When I see them achieve their qualifications and start making a difference to children’s lives, that’s when I know I’ve done my job and made a difference myself.
'It makes it all worthwhile. I love working with my students, that’s enough for me but this award is the icing on the cake.'
Clare is one of three lecturers from the Chichester College Group, which includes Crawley College and Chichester College, to be recognised at the Sussex Teacher of the Year awards.
She was joined at the ceremony by Claire Jackson, who was named FE Sussex Members’ A-Level Teacher of the Year, while Kim Hunt, who was unable to attend the ceremony, won FE Sussex Members’ Apprentice Assessor of the Year.
It meant the college group won three of the four further education categories.
Shelagh Legrave OBE, Chief Executive of the Chichester College Group, said: 'We are incredibly lucky to have a team of fantastic staff across our colleges – and we were delighted to discover that three of our lecturers have been honoured at these awards.
'Clare, Claire and Kim are all extraordinary and really go above and beyond for their students, giving them opportunities to challenge themselves.
'Our ethos is to change lives through learning – and that is demonstrated by these three phenomenal lecturers are doing.
'The students are at the heart of all that we, as a group, strive to achieve. I see that reflected in the people who work so hard at Chichester, Crawley and Brinsbury each and every day.'