Arts Derbyshire


DCG Fashion, Business & Retail Teacher is Presented With Renowned Technical Teaching Fellowship

Sophie Harris, an Advanced Practitioner teaching Fashion Business Retail at Derby College Group received her award for The Technical Teaching Fellowships for 2024/25 at a glittering ceremony last week.

The prestigious fellowships are awarded jointly by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) and Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851,  and were presented at the Royal Society in London on Friday 1st March. The Fellowship recognises Sophie’s excellence in technical education.

Sophie’s Fellowship will focus on the integration of economic, social and environmental sustainability into curriculum design in technical pathways. Technical Teaching Fellowships

The presentations were made on behalf of the Royal Commission by Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM FRS FREng (Commissioner and Chair of the Industry and Engineering Committee) and John Lavery (Secretary), and for the ETF by Dr Katerina Kolyva (Chief Executive Officer).

As well as their Technical Teaching Fellowships, All Fellows will become alumni of the Royal Commission, providing them with further support to drive quality improvement in technical STEM teaching and training and the opportunity to access further funding. They are also awarded Fellowship of the Society for Education and Training (SET), the membership body of the ETF.

Sophie received her fellowship along with five other awardees from a number of colleges; and Sophie will have the opportunity to collaborate and work with them in the future.

Fellows are expected to develop knowledge, transfer and exchange activities, facilitate CPD and contribute to thought leadership through an established technical community of practice. Each receives a financial award to support their activity and guarantee remission time, and is allocated a mentor to support them.

Applications are assessed against criteria including demonstrating highly effective approaches to improving teaching and learning in technical education, how the Fellowship will be used to inspire others, and the planning of professional development opportunities to impact on the pedagogy and professional practice of other teachers and trainers.

Sophie will also be working closely with DCG’s Environmental and Sustainability team and will be actively supporting sustainability objectives during the forthcoming Green Week, starting on the 18th of March.

Her initial plans for her Fellowship are to:

  • Develop a series of teaching and assessment resources adapted for different cohorts across a number of curriculum areas within technical Further Education (FE). Additionally, Sophie will work with employers of placement students to explore sustainable practices in the workplace and how this can translate into the classroom.
  • Co-design CPD materials with employers and stakeholders to support curricula that ‘struggle’ with embedding sustainability. Practitioners will become advocates of Education in Sustainable Development (ESD), sharing their resources, success stories and experiences so that reach is amplified within the FE community.
  • Host a dissemination event to share findings and develop a bank of ESD resources. All participants will be invited to increase geographical reach.
  • Produce a case study, including contextualised conclusions and recommendations, to influence the FE sector.

Sophie said of her award:

“I am so excited to be starting this Fellowship and thankful to the ETF and the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 for this opportunity to explore innovative ways we can naturally promote the wider sustainability topic within curriculum design. It is brilliant that I will be able to work with the other individuals from colleges who have been awarded a Fellowship. And it is really good that I am able to support the students with green skills to enable us to work towards a greener future.”

Dr Katerina Kolyva, CEO of the Education and Training Foundation, said:

“Our congratulations go to the recipients of the 2024/25 Technical Teaching Fellowships. These awards recognise leading lights in technical education and support them to effectively share and extend the reach of their practice. We look forward to seeing them follow in the footsteps of their predecessors, developing the capability of technical teaching across the UK. In doing so, they will help to foster the skills required to address the profound technical, economic and sustainability changes society faces.”

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