TES finals in February

Tuesday 10 January 2017

A Bedford College tutor is in the prestigious TES national awards finals at Grosvenor House Hotel in London on 24th February.

The Times Educational Supplement (TES) is the ‘news text book’ of the teaching industry.

Originally an Operations Manager in the IT industry, Judith Larsen was inspired to change career and became a tutor at Bedford College six years ago. While completing an IT Networking & Security Foundation Degree Judith discovered she had a passion for helping fellow students, she has since qualified as a teacher in post-compulsory education and now teaches networking at Bedford College while completing an MA in Education. 

During this time Judith has shown outstanding commitment and dedication to her students, resulting in a 220% increase of enrolments on the HNC/D Computing Systems Development course from 2012 to 2015. There has also been a significant increase in attainment during this period, with 10 students achieving Merits or Distinctions.

Paula Hobday, Assistant Director for the Computing Department said: “Judith is an exceptional role model for women in computing.  She was the only female instructor in the UK to be awarded the CISCO Instructor Excellence Award and she provides many additional opportunities for her students outside of the classroom.”  

Four years ago, Judith set up regional heats for the WorldSkills UK Information Technology at Bedford College.  This year, 15 of Judith’s students competed in the regional heats and six students were selected to deliver the IT Support Technician showcase at the WorldSkills UK event in November 2015.   One of Judith’s most promising students, Oliver Davis, won gold and the chance to represent the UK at the WorldSkills Abu Dhabi in 2017. 

Judith is so passionate about teaching networking skills that she participates in the global CISCO Networking Academy programme, which has seen more than 5.5 million people worldwide join since 1997.  Judith spends a lot of her own time creating teaching resources for other instructors across the world to use and she also mentors new CISCO members.  Earlier this year Judith was recognised as an ‘Expert’ Instructor under the CISCO Instructor Excellence Award programme for 2015.  The ‘Expert’ level recognises high performing instructors globally who: participate in online instructor communities; complete professional development courses and demonstrate attention to student needs and performance. There were only 22 instructors who were awarded with the accolade in 2015 and Judith was the only female instructor in the UK.

Judith is also keen to improve student progression and this year organised a progression event for her students with over 30 local employers, apprenticeship providers and higher education establishments. Some students even received paid employment directly from the event, including Ryan Keeling who said: “Judith is definitely one of the best teachers I’ve ever had.  She’s very passionate about networking and has had direct, real-world, experience which she passes on to her students.”  

Parents also regularly express their gratitude and praise for Judith’s dedication.  Jan and Andy Howieson said: "Judith was a huge support to our son James, he has been enthused and motivated to a level that we had not expected and his desire to specialise in networking is mostly down to her.” 

For more information on computing courses at Bedford College go to bedford.ac.uk /computing
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