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Nelson & Colne College Group triumphs at Quality Professionals Awards

Nelson and Colne College Group has won a prestigious award for its outstanding contribution to improving the quality of its provision.
The group was one of the winners of the inaugural Quality Professionals Awards, held in Leeds, celebrating the exceptional contributions of quality and compliance professionals in further education and employability sectors.
The event gathered 200 distinguished guests from across the UK, representing FE colleges, independent training providers, universities, third-sector providers, employers, and employability providers of all sizes.
Among the 53 finalists, Nelson & Colne College Group (NCCG) took home the prestigious Quality Team award for FE Colleges. The accolade recognises a team that has demonstrated outstanding contribution to assuring and improving the quality of provision.
The five-strong quality team at NCCG has adopted a dual approach to drive exceptional quality standards. The Quality Improvement members focus on the professional development of staff, a core pillar of the group’s strategy.
The Learning and Development manager, Sue Smith, leads a dynamic team of seven teaching and learning innovators, all of whom are experts in their fields. Their collaborative and supportive culture encourages teamwork, communication, and shared responsibility for quality across the multi-site Group.
Sue joins forces with Joy Sharpe, head of Quality to work closely with subject teams and senior leaders to track and monitor progress of all students across the group.
Lisa O’Loughlin, principal and CEO of Nelson & Colne College Group, said: “The Quality Team’s dedication and innovative approach have been instrumental in achieving and maintaining our ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating. Their commitment to fostering a culture of continuous improvement has made a significant impact on our overall performance.”
Current outcomes highlighting the impact of the Quality Team include:
– The only Outstanding FE College in Lancashire
– Number one in Lancashire and nationally for adult achievement rates
– Top nationally for T Level high grade achievement rates
– Top in Lancashire for GCSE Maths and English progress
– The only FE College in Lancashire to achieve Outstanding for High Needs provision
Tracey Baron, deputy principal in Curriculum and Quality at NCCG, said: “Our Quality Team’s relentless pursuit of excellence and their innovative practices have set new benchmarks in the further education sector. Their work not only uplifts our students but importantly also inspires our staff to continuously strive for higher standards.”
Additionally, Sophie Higson, a Quality officer at the college since 2023, was a finalist in the Rising Star category. With no prior experience in quality assurance systems or quality improvement, Sophie quickly engaged with her colleagues in the Quality Team and has made a profound impact through her strong work ethic and ability to interpret data.
Helen Greaney
Helen Greaney
If you have interesting things happening at your company in Lancashire, I'm the news editor here and I'd love to hear it. I'm a senior journalist with more than 18 years' experience in local, regional and national newspapers, as well as in digital PR.


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