A guest blog by Derby College Group

Linzi Smithies, Advanced Practitioner in Land-based Animal Science and Equine at Broomfield College, has been recognised at a national award ceremony for her efforts in a project in supporting the students and the teaching team at Derby College Group (DCG).


Linzi who led the project was shortlisted for a Pioneer Award at the prestigious Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Heroes Awards. And Linzi got to spend an enjoyable time at a glittering event which was held at the House of Commons. The Awards were in partnership with the Skills and Education Group and the University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC).


Linzi developed the approach ‘Dirt and Toes’, which seeks to reduce staff workload and improve assessment and feedback processes.


TOES stands for Taxonomy of Errors Session, allowing for peer review of the students’ work and practical feedback to ensure the assignment passes the first time. This also greatly helps the students, as they are more likely to receive higher grades through this process. The other aspect is DIRT, which stands for Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time this element, allows the student to see how to improve using specific feedback.


The combined methods have resulted in the students’ confidence increasing and higher grades. With the results from Level 3 students showing that the distinction rate increased by 6% and the merit rate by 31%.


Linzi’s research project was funded by The Skills and Education Group, who also created a video that showcased the work. To watch the video, scroll to the bottom of this page.


Linzi said of her project:

I was delighted to be recognised for the project. I have seen a positive impact on the students and the teachers. I appreciate being given the opportunity to carry out this research, as it is something so close to my heart. I have a real passion for supporting the students and teachers and helping people develop.

— Linzi Smithies

Catherine Guerrero, Teaching and Learning Manager at DCG, commented on Linzi.

Linzi’s enthusiasm as an expert Advanced Practitioner knows no bounds. She has enthused and developed her Advanced Practitioner role and projects over years of development. Her willingness to share her knowledge and skills with her curriculum teams and the wider community is evident.



It is excellent that she can showcase her project work created within the DCG and then delivered nationally, within her presentations and film. Now she’s following on into 2024 with her facilitation of a grant funded project “Empowering SEND Learners: A Comprehensive Engagement and Support Platform.


This focuses on creating a platform to share tasks that work well in lessons, using a task postcard – to indicate which SEND needs it would work with (the focus is on Dyslexic, ADHD, Dyspraxia and Autistic Spectrum Disorder) detailing the task, appropriate adaptation of resources and how the strategy and resources support the student.


Linzi’s growth and creativity are assets to the whole team and beyond; We are so proud of her success.

– Catherine Guerrero, Teaching and Learning Manager at DCG.

Action Research Grant Success for Member Organisation

Learn more about the impact of our Foundation.

Supporting further education and skills