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National award for helping learners with disabilities

Posted onPosted on 21st Jul

A Portland College stalwart has been recognised with a top national accolade.

Curriculum manager David Winter was announced as the winner of the Outstanding Individual Contribution Award at the National Special Educational Needs and Disability Awards ceremony.

The awards celebrate the most inclusive practice for young people in schools, colleges, educational settings and employment across the UK.

David started work at Portland — a leading independent specialist college and registered care home for young adults with disabilities — as a part-time carer 23 years ago.

He then became care coordinator, before moving into learning support and teaching roles, and finally management.

Notably he designed and introduced the first sports curriculum at Portland.

The college said he was an excellent educator and role model for his learners and colleagues.

David added: “I am very honoured to have received this award.

“I have dedicated the last 23 years of my life to Portland and the learners that have passed through our doors in that time, but I wouldn’t be where I am now without the support of my colleagues and family — and for that I am extremely grateful.”

College principal and chief executive Mark Dale said: “David was one of the first people I got to know when I came to Portland nearly 15 years ago.

“Then he was completing his teacher training qualification and I observed his teaching practice and watched him develop from a beginning teacher to an outstanding one.

“I worked directly with him on innovative projects such as our Sport England Fully Inclusive Sport training programme and the groundwork that led to the current Natspec Games.

“He has continued to innovate and put his heart and soul into developing young people with disabilities.

“It is wonderful to see David get this recognition and the outpouring of appreciation for a brilliant teacher.”

During his time at the college, David has helped his learners to achieve many successes.

After designing and introducing the first sports curriculum at Portland in 2006, David has helped learners to have the opportunity to compete in local, regional and national events.

His many successes have seen learners represent England in Boccia squads and the Table Cricket team win the Lord Taverner’s national title several times.

David has also introduced a comprehensive evening enrichment programme for learners, which he has opened up to others in the community.

He is now rolling out a new initiative at Portland, the Be Healthy, Active and Courageous project. The 12-week staff training programme helps them support learners with self-awareness, self-regulation, goal setting, achievement habits, self-compassion and resilience.

All of this is alongside David’s busy role of managing a complex curriculum and large team of specialist staff.