Staff Profile: Clare Hood - MK College

Staff Profile: Clare Hood

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Group Director Quality, Teaching and Learning

Clare Hood

Q: How long have you worked at Milton Keynes College Group?

A: I have been at the College for six months now and have been working in Further Education (FE) for 14 years. During that time, I worked at two other large FE colleges. Before joining Milton Keynes College Group, my last job was as Assistant Principal of a large  London college group.

Q: What do you do in your role?

A: I am responsible for making sure that our provision supports our students in making sustained progress towards ambitious outcomes and my role is to ensure what happens in classrooms supports this.

Q: How does the College deliver high-quality teaching and learning?

A: There are two parts to ensuring we deliver quality teaching and learning. Firstly, there’s compliance. We ensure everything we do conforms to awarding body requirements.
It’s also about making sure they are the right qualifications to take students where they want to go and do what they want to.

The second part is about driving quality improvement. We continuously assess how good teaching and learningis at the College and find creative ways to continually develop this. Another important thing is assessment, and how good we are at finding out what students know and can do, so we know best how to support them to move forward.

Q: What’s your approach to meeting students’ needs?

A: Students coming through our doors learn in different ways, so we have to make sure we are well-prepared to support that.

There’s a real pace to curriclum change nationally, and teachers have to adapt and be ready for what’s next. Beyond that, our students come from a diverse range of backgrounds and have different challenges in their lives, and teachers need to be able to effectively support that.

Q: What motivates you in your role?

A: I have a personal investment in education. Having come from a background where it wasn’t prioritised and I wasn’t always able to attend school, I found education later in life which gave me the qualifications I needed to teach.

I started teaching when I was 22, and was inspired by further education and so never left it. I moved into college leadership to support learner achievement beyond my own classes and always hope I can work with people to support their passion to support students.

I am committed to the College’s Fairer Futures ethos and making sure our learners achieve success with all opportunities that are available to them, and that the College meets the needs of the Milton Keynes Community.

Q: How are teaching and learning priorities set?

A: English and math are always priorities. So many of our students come in without the level of English and maths they need to be able to access the next level and with the skills they need for life and career progression.

We also want to push the skills they need to succeed in their field. For example, an electrician needs technical skills, but also essential employability skills, such as strong communication, to navigate the world of work.

Q: What do you think makes MK College different?

A: I think the College is a real values-based college, so when we talk about Building Fairer Futures, you see that every day. Not all colleges are like that. Here, it is truly a student-first approach. We’re always thinking, ‘How do we support them to move forward?’

It is also a college embedded in the local community of Milton Keynes. We focus on how we can support our students to be the best versions of themselves. Staff are ambitious about moving our students from where they came from to where they can go.

I’m loving being at MK College; there’s just a feel about the place. The students I have met so far have been incredible and I’m really enjoying it.