Primary teacher Amanda currently works for South Ayrshire Education Services as a seconded Digital Learning Officer. She provides a range of professional learning opportunities, hosting workshops, delivering webinars, creating online communities of experts, and using social media to share information, opportunities, and events. As well as providing learning opportunities for teachers, she delivers support sessions to pupils and the wider school community.
Amanda is passionate about Digital Literacy and Computing Science and takes every opportunity to embed these experiences across the curriculum. She stays abreast of digital education trends and actively seeks new teaching tools and techniques. She uses social media and other professional learning networks to connect with educators and experts across the world. She is widely recognised for her valuable contribution and connections on Twitter and supports colleagues nationally and internationally.
Amanda is one of four Microsoft Innovative Educator Fellows in Scotland, supporting the national MIE Experts community. As one of the first Promethean Certified Trainers in Scotland, she regularly co-presents Promethean (Ed Tech) webinars and was invited by Promethean to be a guest presenter at BETT 2023.
Daren is an experienced teacher of 23 years and the Academic Technologies Lead at AET, a multi-academy Trust in England that New Rickstones Academy is part of. He works as part of the Trust’s Digital Team to support staff and students with their use of technology, training and digital innovation.
Daren was recently recognised as one of the #Edtech50 award winners and has held Senior Leadership roles in schools for over 10 years. In his current role, he works with staff and students to develop their EdTech skills, technology strategies and confidence.
He also supports Innovation in AET’s central team, working on the development of a state-of-the-art intranet, creating digital training courses and materials, data visualisations and supporting AET’s approach to the developments in Artificial Intelligence. He’s been co-writing a thought leadership paper to help the Trust navigate the recent rapid developments in this space, delivering updates to cohorts of staff such as the AET Digital Network and keeping ahead of developments on behalf of the Trust.
As Learning Technologies Leader, John ensures that technology is appropriately embedded and used effectively and delivers a curriculum that helps children use technology safely and feel comfortable using a wide range of devices and software. Throughout lockdown, this was an EdTech Demo school, where John provided support across the country for many settings.
All classes have access to laptops, tablets and wireless devices. Classes can use the Mac Suite, Podcasting Sound Shed and TV Studio (which make up the school’s Innovation Hub) to create digital media. Even 3-4 year-old Nursery children use the hub, recording and acting out their stories. They all have online platforms, which parents can access.
Recently, Year 1 pupils used this suite to act as weather reporters to conclude their geography unit, displaying all the knowledge and vocabulary they had gained.
John also set up an immersive suite called ‘The Portal’, which has been used across the whole curriculum and provides a number of sensory needs for SEND pupils.
Lyndsey has been an international educator for over 18 years with a focus on digital integration, and has a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. In her four years Lyndsey here as Digital Teaching and Learning Specialist, her impact has been one of great change and positivity. Teaching staff have grown in confidence when teaching with iPads, helping to expand the 1:1 iPad programme on offer.
Lyndsey focuses on making learning through Augmented Reality more accessible for all students and teachers, viewing AR as another tool in the creative toolbox. Students now view their use of tech as a way to connect with their learning and share their understanding. Through her initiatives, Lyndsey has transformed teaching and learning beyond metrics and statistics. Students now think digital first.
Lyndsey is also an Apple Distinguished Educator, Apple Learning Leader, Google Level 1 Educator and Apple Regional Training Centre Manager. She founded ‘Create for a Cause’, to unite Distinguished Educators from around the world to write books on how students can raise awareness of global causes through digital creativity.
Melanie is an inspiration to her team, her pupils and the wider community. She is leading IT innovation across Southend in some of the most deprived areas in Essex. Her work with primary schools led to a designation as a Digital Schoolhouse, providing expertise, training and access to high quality workshops that have inspired and challenged pupils and staff to think differently.
As part of the school’s keen commitment to digital games development and learning, Melanie has developed strong links with the ‘Every Child Online’ charity to establish an eSports lab with high spec gaming computers, as well as a market-leading gaming centre with VR technology. This led to a growing uptake of female pupils in Games Development and Information Technology across all key stages. She also runs a Code Club, providing students with the opportunity to use an array of single board computers, robotics and project kits.
Melanie’s passion, commitment and expertise has raised aspirations across the school and shown the art of the possible in the community that she serves.
Nino is Head of the Art and Photography Department. She is a USA Presidential Award-winning teacher and a recognised specialist in Blended Learning and Artificial Intelligence Art.
To help students make cross-curricular connections, and put the ‘A’ into STEAM, Nino created an innovative curriculum and is the first teacher to embed cutting-edge technologies (Stereoscopy, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics) into the entire art/photo curriculum from Year 7 through Year 13. Her approach aims to change students’ and parents’ mindsets about the value of the arts and potential related careers.
Within two and a half years, this approach has had a significant impact on the progress and achievement of her students, with all going on to leading universities, major scholarships and awards.
Using a drawing robot, Nino allowed students to explore the intersection between art, design and computer science. The robot has helped them learn about coding, robotics and automation, and given them valuable experience in using cutting-edge technologies essential to the future job market.
At this school in Birmingham’s Sparkhill community, an area of high social, economic and cultural deprivation, many children arrive with low levels of literacy and missed opportunities.
The Early Years team has worked innovatively to address disadvantage, remove barriers and build strong foundations. By framing their curriculum around ‘every child receiving every opportunity to flourish’, the team provides high-quality teaching and targeted support that includes a wide range of cultural and enrichment opportunities within and beyond the school setting.
From making mud pies, rolling down hills, squishing clay, caring for newly hatched chicks, working with artists, music specialists and visiting theatres to see their favourite stories be brought to life, the Early Years curriculum provision equips children with knowledge, skills and experiences. Working with caregivers and external organisations has been integral in establishing positive learning environments.
The team has curated a curriculum that empowers children, many of whom arrive with limited vocabulary, oracy and confidence, to recognise and own their place in the world.
Early Years and Foundation Stage (EYFS) staff here work fantastically as a team. The school’s Relationship policy informs all interactions between staff, children and families, delivering a hugely successful Trauma Informed approach.
Before assigning any classes, the team spends the first three weeks of foundation learning about the children and observing the friendships they make. They developed a holistic curriculum that invests in all seven areas of the Early Years curriculum, with children’s happiness and wellbeing at the heart, and high levels of autonomy and choice.
From its inception in 2019, the vision and ethos for Little Grubs has embraced the beauty of nature, sparking the flame of wonder in both children and the adults. The environment they have created is ‘magical’, according to staff.
Based in the grounds of Oakly Park Estate in Shropshire, children and staff have access to a variety of natural environments, with dedicated woodland, a cabin for shelter, a fire circle and a tool area.
The daily routine and the time spent outside all year round is pioneering, but it’s the team of dedicated practitioners that makes this such a nurturing place.
Lessons are often ‘in the moment’ and child-led. Staff intuitively react to the inquiry and exploration from children and as such the group become like a family.
As the team are all Forest School-trained, they have also forged strong links with the Forest School Association. Little Grubs has featured as a case study in their publication, ‘Growing a Forest School From The Roots Up’.
Little SERC provides grant-funded childcare to reduce pressures on parents who do not work or are on low incomes, helping them to study and return to work.
The creche forms part of a Family Learning Together Hub that provides high-quality education for parents and their children, intending to break multigenerational cycles of poverty by supporting parents to study to start work and providing good early education for their children.
The creche aims to enhance economic activity in Newcastle and the surrounding County Down coastal corridor – one of the highest levels of economic inactivity in Northern Ireland, where 28% of 16 to 44-year-olds have no qualifications.
The team has formed partnerships with many charities and local agencies to support its families. They have also established initiatives to help families with the cost-of-living crisis, such as a clothes bank and collections for children’s Christmas presents. Every single parent using the creche has stated that they are happy with the care their children receive and that they have seen significant improvements in all areas of their child’s development.
The Early Years team here work tirelessly to make a positive difference to the lives of local families. The children are at the centre of everything they do, with a focus on SEND provision and providing a vocabulary-rich curriculum and environment, including the use of Makaton.
With a ‘Good’ Ofsted grade in 2021, the team have gone from strength to strength. Their local community is extremely important to them, and they are committed to developing strong relationships with families. They promote ‘Invested’ wellbeing, where the children take part in pit-stops and yoga to support their self-regulation. They pride themselves on the family-feel Early Years setting they’ve created.
The team organise for parents to come and share experiences with their children, including craft mornings, trips to the Zoo and campfires. Families are offered food baskets, a community fridge and training opportunities to ensure they feel equipped to support their children. The team also provide parents with videos of bedtime stories to support families who may struggle to read themselves.
Essential Early Years has provided outstanding, inclusive practice to over 100 children and families with Special Needs since opening in 2020. Renowned for the support and opportunities given to families, the team provide children with special needs with innovative opportunities and the highest quality early education. They embed their Essential Experiences programme, which offers a range of opportunities for children to become part of the local community.
Essential Early Years expanded after only six months of being open, due to the demand for places. They are an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ team and whilst supporting children to achieve above and beyond parental expectations, they have also achieved beyond expectation within a short period of time.
Essential Early Years has excellent feedback from professionals, including within its recent SEND Review. They have achieved Makaton Friendly Setting, My Happy Mind accreditation, Communication Friendly setting and are well on their way to achieving other accreditations.
At the heart of a Northern Irish community on an estate deeply affected by the Troubles and still with a paramilitary presence, this school has been described by inspectors as “remarkable and revolutionary”. A highly inclusive Nurture Champion and Forest School Champion school, the team adopts a trauma-informed, child-centred approach to teaching and learning.
All children learn together through playing in a stimulating and nurturing environment. Many have Special and Educational Needs and families with difficult pastoral needs. They spend the majority of their day directing their own play in a free-flow system between indoors and outdoors, enabling staff to build relationships with the children through supporting their play and engaging them in plenty of meaningful chat.
Whilst the idea of child-centred learning is not new, in Northern Ireland it is far from usual. Free-flowing play like this, with an emphasis on building on children’s interests, is not the norm, and required a leap of faith from the Principal. The approach has resulted in a significant decrease in behaviour management issues.
This outdoor nursery for two-to-five year olds is based on the Forest School ethos that the closer to nature children are, the happier they will be and the more likely they are to learn.
The diverse Early Years team share a passion for teaching children in a natural environment. They make strong connections with parents and go above and beyond to ensure the best experience: flexible hours, help with accessing services and support for the entire family. They turn usual gender stereotypes on their heads; women use tools and make fires and men are promoted in a nurturing and caring role.
Everyday lessons such as phonics, recognising shapes, imaginary play, counting and reading, are transformed into immersive outdoor experiences as opposed to restrictive indoor sessions. Children are free to explore, question and challenge the world around them. In summer they make flower bombs and bug shelters and in winter they craft fires and cook vegetable soup, gently assisted and guided by adults.
Alice has systematically revolutionised SEND practice and policy in this school, doing so with good humour, compassion and consummate professionalism. This is despite a backdrop of financial issues, staffing instability, undiagnosed and unmet needs in children from EYFS to Year 6 and disenfranchised parents.
As a direct result of the systems she has established, pupils benefit from knowledgeable and highly trained staff, early identification and support, enhanced provision, increased progress and attainment, stability and exemplary transition and excellent home-school relationships, and parents feel supported and heard.
She has been proactive and created not just the statutory SEND database, but an ‘early alert’ one that supports children, staff and parents in identifying and addressing potential barriers to learning.
In a climate where every child’s needs are understood and catered for, children on the SEND/early alert register here enjoy enhanced social, emotional, cognitive, physical and sensory provision.
Alice has been instrumental in sourcing, co-ordinating and implementing a range of training for all staff in everything from attachment to diabetes, positive handling to epilepsy.
Amy is an Assistant Headteacher and outstanding practitioner at this Surrey school with enhanced learning provision for students with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) and speech and language communication difficulties (SLCD). She is described by her colleagues as a caring, compassionate leader.
Amy has worked relentlessly in developing excellent SEND provision through her work with students, staff and the community. Amy started at the school as a HLTA in supporting SEND students with language and literacy. She then spent time in gaining qualified teacher status and has led on whole-school language and literacy development as a lead practice.
Her dedication to SEND education over 9 years here has been second-to-none. She is flourishing as Assistant Headteacher responsible for inclusion and inclusive practice across the school.
In 2022, Amy launched SEND transition days for Year 6 SEND students from feeder primary schools to witness taster sessions of extended curriculum interventions. Amy also supports parents with SEND coffee mornings, SEND drop-in sessions and 1:1 meetings with parents.
Currently the Additional Learning Needs Transition Coordinator, David has spent years working with vulnerable learners with diverse needs and has worked here for over six years. He is dedicated to ensuring that all learners have a voice and are celebrated for their skills and talents as well as their diversity. He has a wealth of experience supporting vulnerable young adults, including young offenders.
David dedicates almost 100 hours of his spare time each year to ensuring that learners are fully supported and coached to enable them to demonstrate their skills in competitions. He created and led on a first-of-its-kind event by implementing an independent living skills competition, allowing learners with the most complex needs a platform to showcase their talents, compete with peers and gain national recognition for their skills and abilities.
His infectious positive attitude and ethos around what can be achieved with a solution-focused mindset has a dramatic impact on all who meet him. From pan-Wales organisation to individual learners and their families, David is changing lives with his commitment.
Phillip has been Headteacher here since 2011. He has enthusiastically supported the SEND community and beyond, responsible for 276 SEND students and over 140 members of staff.
He has utilised every available space the school has to ensure the students have as much space as possible, including halving his own office to create a wellbeing space for students. His clever designs and desire to get the best from the local council means there are now over 50 more students on site than when he joined.
Under his headship, the number of accreditations has soared. Students have gained C grade GCSEs, Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards and some have headed to university.
Phillip is also a trustee of a local academy trust, supports other Headteachers, leads workshops for student teachers for local universities, works closely with the local authority, and has influenced change working alongside the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Social Care to improve mental health services for young people with SEND.
Victoria has spent over 20 years teaching across Devon, Jersey and London, dedicating her career to supporting the lives of young people.
Now, as a SENCO, Victoria works to make a difference for pupils with SEND. The provision here for pupils with SEND was inadequate when Victoria took on the role. She wasted no time in making big changes, talking to pupils and parents to explore their needs. She created The Orchard, a centre not just of Inclusion but of Belonging. Her impact is clear. Colleagues are empowered and feel accountable for the attainment of pupils with SEND, making a significant difference to outcomes.
Victoria has not only been instrumental in turning SEND around for children in their school time, but in their exposure to wider experiences. Her pupils met their local MP to discuss how they are supported in their school library, resulting in an invitation to visit him at Westminster to learn more about democracy. For many, this was their first time meeting an MP or having their views heard.
Aine is Deputy Head of the School for Engineering and Computing at SERC. Before this role, she was a Lecturer since 2013 and a Curriculum Manager since 2021. Before working in education, she enjoyed a successful 16-year career in industry, where she achieved the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, working on major transformation of industry projects.
In 2019, Aine was awarded the Biggar Prize for achieving the highest marks in the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at Ulster University that year. Her pragmatism and drive for equality are apparent in her radical initiatives, such as leading the Women and Girls in Engineering Work, which addresses the barriers to girls and women entering and remaining in the Engineering Industry.
Aine is reshaping the engineering curriculum by working with industry to understand their priorities for curriculum development and partnering students with industry to create real-world learning opportunities. Her work ensures students are ‘work-ready’ before they walk out of the college doors.
As a teacher, a police sergeant, Soroptimists campaigner and more, India combines all these skills for the benefit of all. She is an enthusiastic and inspirational teacher and calls this role her “dream job”!
India started as a temporary trainee teacher in 2017 and quickly established herself to become a full-time permanent teacher of Sociology. Student numbers have since increased, as has the number of those progressing to read sociology at HE. India expertly tracks learning through informal core knowledge quizzes, as well as through formal exam assessment.
As a former student here, she is an excellent role model for students in all of her roles. She positively challenges the senior management to consider ways to improve the student experience through her promotion and empowerment of women.
She takes students to cinema screenings of educational films and is an excellent networker, supporting role models such as female lawyers to visit. After attending a celebration for International Women’s Day, she delivered a ‘sharing good practice’ session for the social sciences faculty.
Lauren is one of the college’s Programme Leads of Performance. She sets high expectations for students in a range of ways through her teaching, planning and industry inclusion into her curriculum and lessons.
Teaching students from level 2 up to HE, she supports them on their pathway to excellent destinations in education, work and apprenticeships. She plans exciting lessons and forward-thinking teaching strategies including project-based learning. The Performance course regularly shares best practice with the wider Creative team and receives positive feedback from stakeholders because of this.
Lauren has gone above and beyond to build relationships with regional and national businesses and stakeholders to enable top quality opportunities for students, to the point where the college has a surplus of partners and projects asking to work with her classes.
She even worked with the National Rugby League to open the Rugby League World Cup. This saw students working with professionals through rigorous rehearsal schedules and travelling to Hull.
Pamela has been teaching in HMP Magilligan since 2011, delivering Open College Network (OCN) accreditation. During her time as a prison educator, all her students have completed their accreditation and she has a 100% retention record.
Pamela believes that supporting creative writing in prison provides a vital role in the lives of prisoners: how they re-evaluate themselves; how they stay connected with their families and manage the survival of these relationships under duress.
Pamela offers a range of teaching strategies to help her students develop writing skills, literacy, self-advocacy and self-reflection. The awards they receive yearly are outstanding, with submissions to Listowel Prison Writing and Koestler Arts Awards, and student work exhibited in London’s South Bank Centre. Working with Pamela, students gain skills in compiling books of poetry, anthologies, memoirs, short stories, and article writing. They also adapt to teamwork activities easily transferrable to daily interactions and a work environment.
During the pandemic, Pamela created over 100 writing resources, including a resource on the European Prison Education Association (EPEA) website.
Rachel is an exceptional SEND PE practitioner at this college for students with learning and physical disabilities with “a rare gift to enthuse and motivate children and adults alike”. A PE teacher of 30 years and a longstanding triathlete, she has changed many lives through her passion for the impact that physical activity can have on mental, physical and social health.
What makes Rachel’s story special is that she was diagnosed in 2014 with a brain tumour. She not only overcame several significant challenges following this, but now proudly races for Team GB in Triathlon, demonstrating to her pupils what is possible in the face of adversity.
Relentless in exploring new depths and determined to reach new heights, Rachel actively shares these aspirations and hope with her learners. She has personalised life-skill courses such as ‘I can Lead’ to make them fully inclusive, and supports pupils with the most complex needs to develop communication skills, promoting independent learning. She always focuses on how something CAN be achieved, not on what might limit her learners.
An exceptional college team who enable and inspire students, regardless of background, to achieve beyond their potential and experience life-changing opportunities. They are a key part of the wider Everton family contributing to school, college and community life, creating opportunities through education and the power of football, through partnerships for work experience and coaching sessions for local teams. As part of extra-curricular PE, they create sport festivals for local primary schools as part of an outreach programme.
Their impact is worldwide; the team have developed partnerships and coaching programmes that students facilitate in Aruba, Chile and Valencia. Their team’s success last season, led by head coach Joe Parkinson, saw the college lift the National League and become winners of the World School Games.
The team develop their students as scholars and players, and are at the forefront of showcasing football talent in the region. Students move on to university degrees, US scholarships and work alongside Liverpool’s Everton in the Community on sport development projects.
Lecturers at this forward-thinking Creative Arts department use a wide range of learning methods to allow learners to succeed, including weekly field trips, guest lecturers online and in-class workshops.
The 40-staff department also provides real-life learning opportunities, including work experience with prestigious clients and exhibition opportunities in maximum-exposure venues such as the Wales Millennium Centre and the Senedd (Welsh Parliament Building) in Cardiff Bay. Photography courses offer portfolio-building opportunities with prestigious clients such as Porsche, the Welsh National Opera and the Goodwood festival of speed. Games Design learners have won Gold and Silver medals in WorldSkills UK.
Within the college’s teaching success programme, the Creative Arts department has the highest results across the college. Lecturers deliver workshops to other departments on how to achieve ‘Experience 360’ level.
Outstanding work-based projects within the media course include the production of a comedy drama written by a Media Production student, crewed by students and supported by professional film makers and BAFTA-winning actors. The film is being considered for possible broadcast by the BBC.
In 2018, the college created a department, the Entrepreneur Club, dedicated to supporting students in developing enterprising and entrepreneurial skills. In five years, 115 viable independently-trading student companies have been formed due to the team’s facilitation and mentoring. The team comprises a head of school, three Deputy Heads of School, five innovation advisors, an entrepreneur- in-residence, and student company mentors.
Research from Stranmillis University involving 4000 SERC students and 46% of the SERC staff population demonstrated the benefit of the Entrepreneur Club experience across all transversal skills categories.
The research also identified that 19% of SERC students were interested in setting up their own companies, over three times the Northern Ireland average. Through the work of the club, the college produces more entrepreneurs than the region’s average.
One student company manufactures exfoliating soap made with waste coffee grounds. The Entrepreneur Club introduced them to major Northern Ireland hospitality providers and as a result they grew their business, developing bespoke soap products for each hospitality provider.
This diverse, innovative team, branded Praxis Performing Arts, have prioritised an impactful, professional environment whilst nurturing and supporting learners, some who come from very deprived backgrounds.
They have worked hard to build external links over the past five years and work closely with a group of industry volunteers who contribute through workshops – online and in person – and act as mentors. The team also took the initiative to help combat the negative effects of Mental Health issues by organising a local charity (Give Space) to run twice-yearly workshops to the learners most affected with issues such as depression, anxiety and OCD.
The team, who all have current industry links, use their professional ties within theatre and music to provide excellent opportunities for learners. They each empower their students to perform throughout the college, in local theatres and in the community. They have a well-deserved excellent reputation with employers, the community and students, providing outstanding teaching, learning, assessment, and fun – all day, every day.
Many Level 1 students have progressed to University, Drama School and Level 4 courses.
This academy has arguably seen the most transformational journey of any Sixth Form in the country. Originally known as The Maltings College, TSFA was put under the leadership of a newly-formed senior leadership group (SLG) from other schools in the Trust. The outlook was bleak – an ‘inadequate’ judgement in 2013 was followed by two RI judgements; student numbers had dwindled to just 29 and there was a significant budget deficit. The college was on ‘life support’ and expected to close.
Three years on, the college has almost 800 students, serving some of the most deprived areas in the borough. Over 1200 students applied for a place in Year 12 for September 2022, and in 2021 it was graded Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ in all areas.
Through the creation of new professional standards, effective marketing and a relentless focus on the academy ethos and culture (‘To develop life-ready learners’), the current SLG has been responsible for rescuing a failing institution, working with the LA and six neighbouring 11-18 providers to restructure post-16 across the borough.
In his seven years at the helm, Headteacher Dave has driven significant change that has not only established Spire as a centre for effective learning, but also as a supportive hub at the heart of the wider community, which is in the top one per cent nationally for deprivation.
In the 2022 Ofsted Report, inspectors observed a family atmosphere about Spire Junior School – ‘a caring school’. Dave’s vision was to create a ‘Disneyland of Learning’ where academic achievement was a by-product of a creative curriculum with authentic outcomes and life experiences that support the children to be successful in school and in life. SATs results have dramatically improved under Dave’s steer, with combined results above the national average.
Under Dave’s leadership, the school has established strategic industry partnerships that have helped to propagate the school’s values. Dave has been intrinsic in organising a Chesterfield Headteacher partnership to support further improvement in all schools and coaches other Headteachers to overcome barriers to success.
Since becoming Headteacher in 2018, Lisa has driven substantial change, and developed and nurtured a therapeutic, family environment for the whole school community. She created and continues to exemplify the school’s ethos ‘Minds, Learning, Futures’, and wants all children to have a champion. This ethos has become the school’s beating heart and is integral to its growing success.
All members of the Grove Street family, from the children to student teachers, from TAs to SLT, are encouraged to grow by Lisa and she leads by example. Thanks to a relentless passion and understanding of Early Years, her impact goes beyond the school community. She leads Early Years Foundation Stage improvement across the Local Authority, lectures student teachers at Liverpool Hope University and initiates community projects such as the school foodbank and uniform exchange.
As a forward-thinking, research-led practitioner, Lisa is able to raise aspirations beyond school life. She initiated Wirral’s first ‘Building Futures’ whole school careers day and is a strong advocate for CPD.
As Executive Headteacher, Maria provides leadership across The 1590 Trust. Until recently, she was a National Leader of Education and is also part of the Leadership Board for Campus Stockton Teaching Alliance.
The school motto is ‘Bright, Proud and Successful’. This permeates Maria’s leadership and transcends to staff, pupils, parents/carers and the wider community. Maria strongly advocates pupil voice and the child’s rights. She encourages children to shine brightly and be proud of who they are.
Being a Unicef UK ‘Gold’ Rights Respecting School is testimony to this – as are the roles and responsibilities given to pupils. Children lead weekly assemblies, are buddies to younger children and have their voices heard on a weekly basis at school council meetings.
Maria’s vision to develop the school’s grounds has resulted in positive outcomes for the children. She has added a Multi-Use Games Area and Trim Trail and continues to add playground climbing frames to enhance health and wellbeing.
Matthew is an outstanding, inspirational Headteacher. A driver of innovation, he introduced farming into the curriculum and raised grants to extend school buildings and develop the latest technology. Pupils invited to the BETT Conference annually talk about IT excellence in school.
Described as “very caring”, Matthew ensured that pupils had computer access during the pandemic and was active in handing out food parcels locally.
Teachers here appreciate the freedom they have to develop a creative curriculum. The school was graded ‘Outstanding’ this year and given the Cumbrian Golden Apple Award. Matthew promotes a strong Christian ethos and ‘Can Do’ culture where pupils flourish. He addresses rural isolation by taking pupils into the wider community and he develops links with other schools.
Matthew is on the committee of various educational institutes locally and country-wide. He campaigned on behalf of the community to get B4RN (Broadband for the Rural North) internet, ensuring its implementation.
Headteacher Peter is a retired police officer. He has been involved in education for 30 years, including adult education, the voluntary sector and over 15 years in primary schools, five of these as a Headteacher.
Over four years at Millbrook, Peter’s tenacity and vision have breathed life back into this one form entry primary school. His professional outlook is borne out of his police career, where working with the community was a priority. He has actively raised aspirations by regularly engaging high-profile visitors including scientist Sir Robert Winston as well as authors and sports champions.
Wellbeing is at the forefront of Peter’s values. The introduction of staff initiatives such as Golden Ticket, thank you cards and rewards like an afternoon tea are popular and help staff to feel valued.
It is important to Peter that the children under his care grow their understanding of the world around them. As an enthusiastic runner of 30 years, running 110 marathons across the globe, he encourages children to participate in charity runs and think about others.
Farhan became Headteacher of this inner-city multicultural college of 1,500 pupils in 2017. Bringing a values-led approach to leadership, he believes that the journey is more important than the destination. He has transformed progress and attainment for pupils year-on-year and widened their educational experiences to raise aspirations.
Alongside redefining the college mission statement and values, Farhan introduced new ‘tough love’ policies to improve standards, including line-ups and a strict late policy.
His mission goes beyond improved academic grades, with a deep desire for all pupils to be able to compete with their peers nationally in line with ‘aspiration – ready to take on the world’. As part of their ‘six-year journey’, all pupils experience cultural visits that include annual trips to a University, to London, to the seaside and to the Peak District.
Beyond the classroom, Farhan has introduced a Sports Academy, Morning Mastery and help with the local food bank and homelessness projects.
Fiona has been Headteacher here for eight years. Her Catholic faith permeates all that she does, and her inspirational leadership has transformed learning and educational experiences. She has strengthened relationships with parents, carers and families and built strong, sustainable partnership links in the local community. The school ethos under her guidance has been particularly apparent in the way refugee children joining the school have been received and have settled in.
Fiona continually encourages all departments to develop and set goals for improvement. Under her leadership, the school has attained Bronze and Silver Reading Challenge Awards and is working towards the Gold Award and the Oscar Romero Award, among others.
Outside the main curriculum, Fiona has initiated extra activities such as Paired Reading, Duke of Edinburgh awards, sporting activities, the school shows, Battle of the Bands and many more. She encourages students and staff to participate in a range of charitable activities and in six years they have raised over £40,000. Fiona regularly visits local shops and engages with local traffic safety and other groups to understand what matters to her wider community
Jane became Headteacher here in 2015, when the school was facing very difficult circumstances. Colleagues report that it is due to her passion, commitment, pride and vision that students are now thriving academically and personally. She has driven and transformed Lathom from a school struggling for academic results (and in receipt of poor community press) to a positive, high achieving, warm and welcoming school.
Following significant changes in staffing and the staff structure, colleagues report feeling happy and fully supported. Jane led the team to achieve an Ofsted rating of ‘Good’ in all areas for the first time in the school’s history. With a history of very low first choice applications, the school is now over-subscribed.
Alongside many other selfless local initiatives and aware of concerns in the local community that sometimes have involved her students, she instigated and hosted a community group in a bid to reduce vandalism and allow the Skelmersdale community to feel a safer place.
Robin joined as Principal in 2016 at a time when the school had experienced significant turbulence and had never received an Ofsted judgment higher than ‘Requires Improvement’. His vision and leadership have significantly and positively changed the culture and environment.
This is now a welcoming, inclusive and supportive school. Robin has created a collaborative ethos throughout, with a focus on developing good teaching and learning through focused staff CPD and building a varied curriculum. Some sixth formers have even benefited, thanks to Robin’s collaboration with the school’s sponsor, Haileybury, from trips to Uganda and Australia.
In 2022 the school was rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted for the first time in its history, reflecting the progress made under Robin’s leadership. The school was praised for offering a wide, rich and ambitious curriculum, and for students with SEND being enabled to succeed.
Significant challenges have included staffing, budget, and inadequate buildings, but Robin has created a school of choice in the local community. Autumn 2023 is the second year to see full allocation of places.
This is a Trust passionate about building educational environments to inspire and unlock potential. It provides rich and ambitious opportunities across all of its schools through its HISP Learning Partnership, consisting of The Solent Maths Hub, Science Learning Partnership, HISP Research School, HISP Teaching School Hub, Hampshire SCITT and the newly accredited Inspiring Future Teachers, developed through partnership with other multi-academy trusts across the south.
Through its partnerships, HISP has achieved many successes, including a teacher training programme, ‘Inspiring Future Teachers’, through partnership with MATS nationally, and the new ‘Supporting pupils with SEN in Mainstream Schools’, supporting leaders to better understand SEND pupils.
HISP was among six institutions in England to be awarded £650,000 worth of funding to improve struggling schools as part of a new government initiative.
Alongside building partnerships, one of the Trust’s key values is to protect each school’s individual personality within the local community. HISP works with schools to develop their own unique presence and schemes, including pupil recognition schemes and parent-pupil assemblies to recognise and share the hard work of pupils.
HEARTs project is led by a diverse team who support local schools in Liverpool to become more attachment- and trauma-informed. Hope School, a maintained special school for 68 children aged 5-11 with Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties (SEMH), has worked towards becoming attachment and trauma responsive since 2014, a journey recongised locally and nationally with awards and an OBE.
HEARTs is committed to supporting children with complex trauma histories and attachment disruptions. Hope School saw an opportunity for wider collaboration with the local authority, through the Virtual School Liverpool, to share its expertise. A growing network of schools are now helped to recognise their strengths and implement a network-wide development plan.
HEARTs is peer-led, not top-down, target or tick-box focused. Collaboration takes time, requiring the building of trust in an often fragmented system. In just two years, 10 participating schools have become 32, thanks to Headteachers/Deputy Headteachers, virtual school Heads, local universities, clinical psychologists and external consultants collaborating to develop a robust model of embedding attachment- and trauma-responsive care.
This school has collaborated with The Legacy Project since 2019 to provide supported internship for young people aged 16 to 24 with specific additional needs, learning disabilities and/or physical disabilities – empowering a new workforce. It is part of ‘The Transforming Care’ vision of the NHS, promoting resilience and creativity in a young, neurodiverse community, resulting in fewer being in crisis.
The project works collaboratively with the school and businesses in the wider community. The team is committed to changing perceptions and experiences of disability, and to changing the world in which these interns live. This work in primary settings is planting the seed at an early age that a disability or need does not have to define a child’s future. The interns face a variety of complex learning or social needs and abilities. Many have never been on a bus independently, made a packed lunch or spoken to an adult outside of school or home.
The impact achieved through this collaboration is significant. Sixty per cent of interns are now employed in the settings they trained in.
This mental awareness programme was developed by St Andrew’s College, part of St Andrew’s Healthcare, a nationwide mental health charity.
Recognising that prevention is better than cure, teaching staff in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS) Low Secure Unit at the charity’s secure hospital developed a programme for primary and secondary schools. Fostering a culture of positive mental health, LightBulb provides a ready-made framework, enabling participants to demonstrate and showcase excellence in mental health practice, including to regulatory bodies.
In their partnership with schools, the LightBulb team are trailblazers in helping teachers, educators, pupils, parents and carers improve knowledge, understanding and skills, helping them to identify potential signs and symptoms of mental health issues among students. They also provide signposting to services and support networks for young people and their families/carers.
Since its 2021 launch, the programme has been delivered to 42 schools and over 27,000 students.
LightBulb also hosts conferences and webinars regularly for schools and parents and recently ran a free roadshow delivering workshops, assemblies and mindfulness sessions to 9 schools across Northamptonshire.
“Nothing is a barrier”. During her 20 years as Headteacher, Jane has created a culture with no barriers to what children and staff can aspire to and achieve, or to the communication and collaboration between diverse communities and cultures.
An “inspirational ambassador” within a community that is in the country’s bottom 20% for social deprivation, Jane has selflessly devoted her life to the school and the Foleshill community. Pupils join from exceptionally low starting points, yet their end of Key Stage 2 results are often stronger than National results. Many families within the school community have no or limited education and come from a variety of countries, often with poor language skills on entry.
Jane has been instrumental in achieving dramatic changes. Her strong financial management has been critical in building an exceptional school site, which includes a purpose-built swimming pool, a large adventure playground, a Science and Engineering pod, a Camping pod, a radio booth and a large all-weather pitch.
Former engineer Dr Patterson retrained as a teacher at Liverpool Hope University over 30 years ago before becoming Principal at St. Vincent’s School for Sensory Impairment in 2012.
He is internationally peer review-published in community, volunteerism, creative curricula and ‘reverse inclusion’. Under his leadership, St. Vincent’s is graded as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted for both school and residential provision for children with visual, hearing and other impairments, and has a multi-award winning reputation as a world leader in teaching, learning research and innovation for Visually Impaired young people.
Dr Patterson has created several projects for VI young people to share their strengths and innovations. The ideas generated via his curriculum design were included in the international ‘Sightbox’ he designed as a ‘toolkit for access to sports and education’, making the school an international hub for research and development and creating a space for other innovators to share ideas with Sightbox in 20+ countries.
Julie has spent her entire career championing the cause of pupils: those with additional needs, those affected by poverty and prejudice, those who have been excluded, those with sporting or artistic talents and academic gifts and those who are less confident.
Since qualifying as a teacher in 1986, Julie has transformed the lives of countless children, families and communities. She has a proven record of improving standards, and is determined to ‘level up’ education in several deprived areas of the North East.
In 2005 Julie established the Extol Trust, to further enhance system leadership in the North East. She has worked with primary and secondary leadership teams to promote sustainable and effective change management. The Trust has since grown from one to six schools.
Julie has been deployed as interim Headteacher by other local authorities to support schools facing difficulties (with two schools joining the Trust). Through her expert leadership and support, one school moved from ‘Requires Improvement’ to ‘Good’.
Julie’s biggest legacy is with school families. Many parents at Eldon Grove Academy fondly remember Julie as their own Headteacher!
Sheelagh started teaching in 1982 as a Home Economics teacher. From 2004, she was at the forefront of formal curricular innovation as Faculty Head for Language and Enterprise and later as ‘School of Ambition’ Project Manager for Castle Douglas High School.
In 2012 she moved to a wider quality improvement and support role, from 2015-21 with responsibility for 114 schools in Dumfries and Galloway, and from 2021-2023 supporting teachers across 512 schools in South West Scotland. She was tenacious in translating complex policy ambitions to be meaningful and practical for school leaders. Her considerable reach expands to schools, local authorities, colleges, Regional Improvement Collaborative, SQA and Education Scotland.
As a farmer and home economist, her work in linking ‘farm to fork’ and supporting young people’s learning with relevance and impact to their local community and the rural economy was ahead of its time. One legacy is that 14 of her former pupils are Home Economics teachers themselves today.
Sheelagh retired in 2023 after 40+ years of service to the education community across Scotland. Colleagues describe her as an advocate for change, standing out through challenging the system to better meet young people’s needs.
An outstanding leader for over 33 years, with the last 11 as Principal here, Sue has transformed the college, supporting over 300,000 students, 66% of whom are the most vulnerable in this community.
Creating an inclusive ethos that builds ambition and tackles poverty of aspiration, the college supports thousands of students with complex learning needs and was first in the City Region to be awarded ‘College of Sanctuary’ for its transformational work with refugees and asylum seekers.
Sue’s leadership has placed equality, diversity and inclusion as its core, whilst building strategic partnerships with hundreds of employers and community leaders to place the college at the heart of a 30-year regeneration project. She led significant change to make the college non-selective, providing a guaranteed place for all 16 to 18-year-olds, irrespective of qualifications, enabling 500 additional students to attend who would otherwise not be included in education.
Sue also introduced innovative approaches to pastoral support and safeguarding, establishing a team to address the growing need, and supporting over 500 safeguarding cases each year.
According to her colleagues, Sue is impactful on everyone she meets, works with, leads and teaches. Generations of families have been inspired by her enthusiasm, positivity and aura.
Sue will retire at the end of this academic year, bringing to a close a 39-year career in teaching, which she has dedicated entirely to this school and to the Harold Wood community. Her legacy is palpable: a love for learning, a zest for life and a desire for levelling up.
From humble beginnings, Sue is passionate about the communities to which we belong, the opportunities we can afford others and the power of education in the lives of young people. In 2022 Redden School was recognised as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. Sue was an integral part of the Senior Leadership Team who demonstrated an absolute commitment to deliver a first class education to local families.
Colleagues describe Sue as “an incredible servant to education” and a “fantastic ambassador for lovely, kind people across the world”.
East Plean Learner Leadership programme is a vital aspect of this school’s nurturing environment, empowering young people to value themselves and their role in society. Developing self-awareness and a strong sense of self-worth are integral to health and wellbeing development and progressive skills planning. The Learner Leadership programme focuses on developing skills in meaningful and impactful ways. Learners confidently and willingly engage in training, stand for election and lead.
Each year, Primary 6 pupils are trained to become Curriculum Ambassadors to support younger learners in literacy and numeracy learning. The training looks at communication, feedback, learning approaches, strategies and resources. A Reading Leadership Group and trained Sports Leaders are also key.
The school’s fictional character, Marvel, creates a safe, secure learning environment for children to learn effectively. Over the past five years Marvel’s five-prop toolkit has focused on developing a growth mindset, good listening skills, resilience and self-regulation. Each new aspect of Marvel’s journey has been introduced and shared at assembly, in newsletters and through learner achievements and awards to share the vision.
Despite the social and economic challenges facing this London area, this Tower Hamlets school makes a significant difference through the belief that every child can be successful. Children are taught about the rich history of their community to instil a sense of pride.
As a school known nationally for commitment to the arts, the staff are leaders in this field. Through strong and purposeful partnerships, the school makes a positive local impact, including a collaboration with the local extra care home, where children and residents enjoy inter-generational learning together.
A beautiful outside space enables pupils to grow food, enjoy weekly Forest School lessons and have their own chicken and a pond. There is an established pupil Eco Committee and a school gardener who works with all pupils, all year round. Pupils enjoy fully-funded trips, free weekly music lessons, and dedicated specialist arts provision.
Lansbury Lawrence is the first school in Tower Hamlets to be awarded Artsmark Platinum.
At this larger-than-average school in a deprived area of East London, 47 different languages are spoken, a large number of families have social services involvement and SEND levels across the school are high.
Pupils enter the school Nursery aged three, but their developmental levels are generally far below this. Speech, language and communication skills on entry are generally poor. Despite this, the children make exceptional progress by the time they leave. They leave in Year 6 with SATs results above local and national standards. Having received a double ‘RI’ by Ofsted six years ago, New City recently gained ‘Outstanding’ in all areas.
There are 28 after-school clubs and a summer school funded by Nike, open for three weeks in summer to vulnerable and key worker families. The school made The Times Top 50 Primary Schools and introduces the idea of going to university and further education from Year 4 to Year 6 through the ‘In2 University programme’.
The school is the epicentre of this local community and is described by colleagues as electric when they cross the threshold!
This primary school is set in a West Belfast area of high socio-economic deprivation, but school life here doesn’t reflect that. Children are provided with opportunities and experiences focused on creating a mindset that allows them to see themselves and their potential in the same way that teachers do. If anything, the high socio-economic deprivation strengthens teachers’ resolve to ensure that their pupils walk on a level playing field with their peers. Their holistic development is paramount, whether it be artistically, musically or physically as well as academically.
Fostering a culture of creating global citizens, children here benefit from strong international collaborations. Children from Primary One to Seven are even taught Mandarin. Artistic opportunities include tin whistle lessons, African drumming and violin classes.
A counsellor is employed two days per week, the school links with a community group to offer additional play-based therapy sessions for children recognised as needing that bit extra, and with a variety of local community groups to offer support to families struggling with food and utility bills.
This community-focused school collaborates with pupils, parents/carers, staff and partners through an Onwards & Upwards programme that aims to close the attainment gap, provide support and ensure clear progression pathways. It aims to ensure that everyone feels part of the Braes community, can access the same opportunities and has whatever they need to reach their goals.
The school’s Vision addresses the significant barriers faced by families living in poverty and ensures equity of opportunity. Family learning and engagement are key to ensuring that young people have the support they need at home.
Targeted approaches include a pupil-led group seeking pupil voice around the cost of the school day and working to reduce stigma surrounding poverty. The group introduced ‘Take what you need’ (give what you can) trolleys, created inputs for PSE lessons, and are forming a cluster group with associated primary schools.
The programme’s impact is clear, including the provision of additional financial support for 50+ families, a strong relationship with Barnardos to support families and build relationships between home and school, and a Holiday Activity Programme.
In a deprived Leicester community with students from highly disadvantaged backgrounds, this inner-city multicultural college of 1,500 pupils works hard to give them the same opportunities as children elsewhere. Against a backdrop of not meeting the needs of its learners through attainment and progress, it has faced low expectations. This has been turned around in the five years since the new Headteacher arrived. The playing field has been levelled so that achievement is not all about the starting point or intellect, and academic results for many have improved markedly.
As part of their six-year personal development journey, hundreds of students are able to experience activities their parents cannot provide, including trips to the London Eye, a Thames river cruise, and visits to Chatsworth House and the seaside.
Through its strong local community links, the college offers 100 free weekly hot meals for struggling families, and access to events and courses such as cycling, healthy eating, parenting classes, mental wellbeing, women into leadership and dealing with mental and drug abuse.
This inclusivity-focused academy aims to create a positive learning environment where the street stops at the gate and where every student is helped to succeed.
Once under-subscribed and in the last decade significantly improved, the academy now boasts an 2021 Ofsted ‘Good’ grading for the first time in its history, with three of six areas (Leadership and Management, Personal Development and Sixth Form) rated as ‘Outstanding’.
Pupils are encouraged to become independent and inquisitive, joining debates about topical issues and guided by tutors who promote pupils’ understanding of British values, including democracy and individual liberty.
The Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ judgement for Personal Development of young people was influenced by (among other initiatives) a recent national award win from Votes For Schools for the academy’s Bin The Banter campaign, which tackled the use of inappropriate, sexualised comments and behaviour, and by work with the Princess Diana Trust to act as a training hub for the development of Anti-Bullying Ambassadors.
Student Voice was launched in 2012 and is a non-elite group of up to 100 passionate changemakers from Years 7-11. The group provides a platform for young people to share ideas, work with others and create change within the school and wider community. Their work with a wide range of community partners has created award-winning projects and initiatives.
Students volunteer their own time to attend meetings at lunchtime, after school, evenings and during holiday periods to create fundraising events (generating over £80,000 since 2012 for a range of charities), mental health projects and work with elderly members of the community. Student Voice enables students of all ages and abilities to develop their confidence, self-esteem and much more. For some, it offers a sense of purpose when they have lost their way, and for others, it raises aspirations through wide-ranging interactions with professionals.
On a wider level, it enables topical conversations, breaks down barriers and challenges stereotypes, signposts support and develops social awareness.
Alice is currently in her third year of teaching and has taught in Year 6 since joining the school. She has led Science since her second year of teaching and works closely with the Deputy Head teacher on curriculum development across the whole school.
From the day she started teaching as an NQT, Alice has brought passion and professionalism. She creates a learning environment full of awe and wonder and has fully embraced the school’s high expectations of all members of our community. She creates real-life experiences, such as a heart dissection for the whole year group when reading ‘Pig Heart Boy’ and studying the circulatory system and fully participates in outdoor pursuits such as climbing and abseiling on Year 6 residential trips.
Her classroom is a buzz of controlled excitement, with children eager to talk about what they are learning and what they’d like to know. She has created a safe and fun classroom where questions are encouraged, and mistakes are celebrated as steps towards achievement.
Ayla has been instrumental in the drive to encourage more students, especially girls, to study Computing, inspiring them with her outstanding teaching, and commitment to exciting extra-curricular activities. She has helped to change the culture of this school to make Computing an exciting and attractive choice for all students. She is an inspirational and effective classroom practitioner, already passing her expertise on by supporting new trainee teachers.
Ayla also brings Computing alive outside the classroom. The list of Computing-related clubs, trips and competitions she volunteers to lead is outstanding: Coding Club for girls, Cyber Security Club, Coding Escape room experience, trips to Allied Codebreaking attraction Bletchley Park, trips to universities, and more. Two years running, her Cyber Security Club team reached the finals of the GCHQ Cyber Security Competition.
Ayla is a humble individual who brings positive energy. She has even been observed by teachers from other schools to demonstrate best practice in teaching computer science. Her impact on student – particularly female – uptake of Computing at GCSE is phenomenal.
Dan was inspired to teach by his own “amazing teachers” when life wasn’t always easy. He qualified at 21 and began teaching in 2020. He worked across all primary phases and key stages and later began a full-time post in Year 5 at this one form entry school. He also leads tutoring classes after school two nights a week to eradicate gaps in learning caused by the pandemic.
The socio-economic barriers facing this Bradford community would be a challenge for any experienced teacher, never mind an NQT, but Dan is not phased. He’s described by colleagues as humorous, and “an absolute joy to observe, comparable to watching Peter Kay when teaching”.
His class consistently sees the highest attendance in school.
With an inherent desire to develop the whole child, he persuaded the Headteacher to instigate a programme of support for parents and carers outside school hours and visited every Sainsbury’s in Bradford to persuade store managers to donate food for children attending before-and after-school clubs.
Julie is an outstanding Early Career Teacher who has stood out as a “born teacher” since starting her initial teacher training two years ago. She captures the imagination and engagement of all students through her innovative practice and English lessons and inspires them to aspire with her calm, warm and nurturing manner and determination to change lives.
Since starting her career, she has independently created aspirational extra-curricular clubs, taken on an additional responsibility to drive More Able and Talented provision, where she has forged new links with universities and industry to support and mentor students into further and higher education. She regularly gives back to teachers through supporting and mentoring Initial Teacher Trainees (ITTs) and sharing her expertise with staff inside and outside of the academy.
Despite only being in her second year of teaching, she has delivered a range of different talks and presentations to training providers and organisations (including Teach East and the Prince’s Trust) to support ITTs and other ECTs.
Robyn is a Year 1 teacher in her second ECT year. She came to teaching after working as a designer, but has worked with children for a long time, coaching hockey, squash and tennis. Her friendly and engaging energy is unflappable. Robyn overcomes challenges with a committed work ethic and clear love of teaching.
She takes new opportunities and schemes or programmes with ease and has fitted well into all school-wide routines and expectations. She introduced the idea of “marvellous mistakes”, a phrase now entering the vocabulary of children and teachers in all phases. Celebrating mistakes to encourage progression includes in an interactive display and adds immeasurably to her learning environment.
Inspired by her upbringing in Northern Ireland, Robyn is also studying for a Master’s degree in War and Humanitarianism, focusing on the role of education in post-conflict settings and education’s impact on peace processes. This dedication to learning and self-improvement is inspiring and admirable. Teaching and learning at the same time, she juggles expectations at both ends without negative impact on either.
Russell is new to teaching, and has used his experience as an award-winning, professional artist and sculptor to capture the imagination of all pupils at this new Warwickshire Free School since launching the provision for Art, Food and Design Technology.
He has already inspired and facilitated his pupils’ entry and ultimate win the at the national V&A Innovate Awards – and so impressed with his passion, vitality and talent were the team that they invited him to be on their advisory board. His mantra of ‘process over product’ has earned him a strong following in the Twittersphere as an emerging system leader.
Described by his Principal as “a rare unicorn of a find in launching a brand new school”, Russell lives up to his school’s values of Innovation, Aspiration and Excellence every day.
As one Year 8 pupil put it so eloquently, “Mr Hill just gets us. He encourages us to be bold, be brave and be brilliant: I feel I can do anything with his support.”
Zac started at Chiswick School in 2020 as a trainee Maths teacher. However, when a vacancy in Music emerged a few months later, and despite having no previous experience, Zac took on the challenge of revitalising the department and specifically, increasing participation. He brought a whole new way of developing Music. Within only a few months, participation had risen and the school was producing twice as many concerts.
The Orchestra has grown to 30, and seven bands across the key stages are mentored by Zac and his colleague, ranging from Year 7 to 13. They all have their own name and style and Zac has established a healthy competitiveness between the groups. He has overseen a growing choral group, who perform classical concerts in churches across the area and the rock bands have local residencies. The steel pan group also now perform across the area and have made quite a reputation for themselves.
Zac has also set up a scholarship fund that gives some students the opportunity to take peripatetic music lessons at school.
Staff, children, community and governors here appreciate Chelsea’s vocational and enthusiastic approach. They describe her as humble and full of compassion, personifying everything it takes to work in the most challenges circumstances.
As Physical Education Lead across the local Trust, Chelsea has researched and invested time into curriculum principles to ensure that the school offers engaging, innovative education built on first-hand experiences. She prioritises countless small interactions, discussions and individual moments so that pupils feel a sense of belonging.
She qualified in 2015 and is trained in special needs diagnosis and research-led pedagogy. She has taken an active role in learning from other professionals to better her own teaching and leadership practice, and has taken lead roles within curriculum subjects, developed and evaluated a whole school strategy to support all young people to live healthy, active lives. As well as supporting curriculum design and implementation, she also manages educational trips and visits.
In 2021, Chelsea was recognised by the Plymouth Herald newspaper as one of Plymouth’s favourite teachers who have gone ‘above and beyond’.
Claire has been the Early Years and Foundation Stage (EYFS) Leader here for 16 years. Several children list her as their favourite ever teacher. She is a strong, caring, inspirational team player and is a key part of the family feel here. She creates a magical place to learn, whether in her classroom forest, flying on the spaceship to the Moon, or on an adventure in the classroom bear cave, all brought to life with her stories.
She is also a big advocate for outdoor learning in the playgrounds and the Forest School, where children can hunt for or pretend to be characters from the Julia Donaldson novels they have been reading in class.
Claire is an expert at early identification, referring children who might need extra support in speech and language or further investigation into behaviour needs. This rapid referral means that children join assessment waiting lists much earlier.
She also recently introduced a new phonics scheme, ‘essential letters and sounds’, leading to dramatic and remarkable progress.
Kate began her teaching journey at Fishtoft after being asked to support one morning when the school was short of a teacher during an inspection! Eleven years later, not only is she still there, but she has been fundamental in ensuring the school’s success.
Her pupils have been ranked within the top three per cent of schools nationally for progress on more than one occasion. From personal experience, Kate knows that a child is not able to control the circumstances into which they are born; however, with the right guidance, support and encouragement, that trajectory can be changed. She puts her success down to the difference one of her own teachers made, providing her with pencils, books and a study space when home circumstances prevented this.
Kate is passionate about whole-child education and broadening horizons, and has developed many initiatives such as a ‘passport of experiences’, providing pupils with multiple opportunities to see beyond their rural setting and experience the richness and diversity of the world.
Year 6 teacher Kateryna has enriched the lives of the children and their families at this school. As English lead, she has raised the profile for reading and writing, often creating higher-than-average borough-wide and nationwide results.
Her approach helps children fall in love with reading and writing. They are excited by the rich texts she chooses for the English units and are becoming more inspired in their writing, both in fiction and non-fiction.
Working in an inner-city borough where English is not the first language is a challenging factor for an English lead, but Kateryna takes it all in her stride. She offers a weekly Reading Breakfast club outside her school time to encourage families to come in and read with their children over a free breakfast. She runs a hugely popular weekly reading assembly for each phase (Key Stage 1-Upper Key Stage 2) to promote the love of reading, and a special club for higher-achieving children to help broaden and deepen their understanding of English literature.
After completing teacher training in Ireland, Leah joined St Johns in 2013 as a Reception teacher with a strong commitment to social justice and to working with families where she could make a difference.
Not viewing the move to England as permanent, she returned In 2017 to Ireland to continue teaching there, but her social justice mission was “still calling” and she rejoined St John’s once more with even more varied experiences. She has since reinvigorated the school and become a role model for staff, particularly in establishing a fully inclusive environment. She establishes clear routines and rituals for the children to create a sense of both physical and psychological safety that many do not get at home. She invites them to be creative with their ideas, often learning outdoors to promote a connection with nature.
Her work outside the curriculum has a profound impact too. As Music and Phonics Lead, she runs an after-school choir that has a tangible impact on children’s confidence and wellbeing.
Mairi has taught here for 14 years and is described by colleagues as a brilliant, child-centred teacher and an inspirational Maths leader, with exceptional skills in pastoral care. She has a calming, nurturing influence on everyone she interacts with, and is especially skilled in supporting vulnerable children with specific learning and emotional difficulties. She has transformed the lives of certain key children and their families, and is constantly thinking of bespoke strategies to support pupils.
Mairi juggles multiple roles: class teacher, year leader, Maths leader, voracious reader of children’s books (she is a short-lister for the SPARK! book awards, helping shape the reading choices in 150+ schools across the country), is part of the maths hub and is also undertaking her National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL).
Thanks to Mairi, this year has been a breakthrough year for one child, who was finding life at school intolerable. With her support, kindness and dedication, he now finds school a place where he feels safe and nurtured and is thriving.
Matthew is an exceptional teacher who inspires and fosters creativity. He tailors lessons to children’s unique learning styles and makes even the toughest subjects accessible and engaging.
He is passionate about promoting positive mental health and is the school’s mental health champion. It wouldn’t be unusual to see Year 6 children mindfully colouring, listening to soothing music with candles lit or doing yoga followed by meditation with cucumbers on their eyes!
Matthew’s unparalleled creativity and innovative teaching methods make learning here fun and exciting. He encourages students to express themselves creatively and think beyond conventional boundaries. His commitment to promoting kindness has had a significant impact on the school culture. His annual whole-school video celebrating kindness is eagerly awaited by students, staff and parents, embracing the motto ‘laugh more, worry less’.
His efforts have been recognised by ‘ITV’s Britain Get Talking’ campaign through his class Twitter account, which resulted in the children being on the ITV advert.
Mia is an outstanding teacher who goes above and beyond her roles as Reception Teacher, Art Lead and member of Arden’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Team. Colleagues and the wider community admire her innovation and infectious enthusiasm.
Her love of reading and the English language is prevalent in the classroom; the displays and reading area draw the attention of even the most book-shy individual. Children here are predominantly from families where English is not their home language. Mia ensures that they mirror her clear articulation in how they speak and write.
Mia took it upon herself to create a permanent domestic role-play area in her classroom to help pupils build connections to their own interests. She even extended it to create a library, empowering her them to recognise reading as part of family life.
She has transformed the Art curriculum, and no child ever gets left behind in their learning and holistic development. She organises educational visits to the theatre and the zoo and works regularly with creative specialists to increase their engagement in the arts.
In seven years, Yehoshua has made an incredible impact. As the Year 6 teacher, Deputy Head, Head of Key Stage 2, Assessment Lead and interim Head of EYFS, he has also created a Leadership Award, run the School Newspaper, organised the House Captains and Prefects and is still an outstanding classroom practitioner.
He has brought in changes to the delivery of the curriculum that have helped improve the emotional wellbeing and mental health of the pupils and is always available to support staff, children and parents. He has fostered a culture of inclusion and has changed the way people think.
As a Jewish School, 30% of the timetable is for Jewish Studies and as such Yehoshua has worked with the department to strengthen the teaching and learning here. In the 2022 Section 48 report, graded ‘Outstanding’, his lessons were praised for strong pupil-teacher relationship, brisk delivery, superb use of tailor-made IT resources, excellent participation by pupils, good use of questioning, appropriate use of reward systems, and targeted praise for participants.
Ibraheem joined this comprehensive 1,500-student academy seven years ago. He has been an inspiring presence in the English department ever since. His particular passion for oracy, public speaking and giving a credible voice to young people is at the heart of everything he does. He has led the growth of the academy’s public speaking teams, taking learners to opportunities right across the region, as well as bringing in a range of external providers and developing outstanding curriculum events.
Ibraheem has committed significant extra-curricular time to public speaking and debate clubs, which are among the best-attended at the academy. He has nurtured and developed a love of oracy that now runs across the school.
Since becoming Head of English, Ibraheem has galvanized his team and overseen a significant improvement in results. He has enabled learners to compete with the most elite and highest fee-paying schools in the area. They have even competed against Year 12 and 13 students (despite this being a Year 7-11 school) in The Schools’ Mace, England’s oldest debating competition.
Jo’s passion for Science is clear. From a deprived area of Bradford to rural Callington via UC Berkeley, California with a PhD in Herpes structure and beef farming, she has always wanted to apply the theory to practice. Her students enjoy her carefully crafted practical activities and are inspired by the way she relates her subject using contexts as varied from mining in Cornwall, to virus structure, to the sustainability of farming.
As a result of her no-nonsense lessons and exceptionally high standards, her students achieve some of the best outcomes in the local Trust. They even insisted that an Ofsted inspector come to see her teach a second time because what she offers ‘is exceptional’.
Jo runs after-school clubs for Year 11 and 13 students and runs the ‘Science Volunteers’, a group of Year 9s and 10s who volunteer weekly to improve the Science department and inspire younger students to study science.
José is an outstanding MFL teacher and subject leader and has won the admiration of students and colleagues alike. He gives his whole self to his role, and every year, through his infinite range of extra-curricular and curricular projects, he has developed a real love of learning (and even teaching!) among his students.
José regularly supports language teachers across the country by freely sharing resources, expertise and helping to manage an EAL and Language Hub in Peterborough. He works closely with outside organisations and other subjects in school to make learning exciting, and this is evident in his students’ consistently excellent outcomes.
In this academy, Spanish is the department with the highest levels of progress across all key stages, and contrary to national MFL trends, it is one of the most popular subjects at GCSE and A-Level. Some of Jose’s most effective methods have been the introduction of authentic materials, including the study of an El Salvadoran film at Key Stage 3, and the incorporation of national MFL competitions into the curriculum.
Lee creates a strong sense of togetherness and unity in his classes. He always greets his students as they enter his technology teaching space, and his continuous positive affirmations are always well received. His relationships in the classroom encourage outstanding behaviour and promote exceptional pupil wellbeing.
Acutely aware of every student’s needs, he tracks how these change over time, enabling him to make adjustments and additions to his teaching and learning space. His bespoke assessment system is always ‘live’ and visible to staff, students and parents.
Lee’s influence goes well beyond the school walls. He plays an important role in his students’ character development and aspirations. His STEM activities show his care for his students beyond their grades. His team launched a student-inspired disco ball 35,000 miles into the edge of space and successfully navigated its descent, and his students picked up three of the five awards on offer at the regional Young Engineer of the Year awards!
Patrice has worked as a History teacher here since 2019, becoming Head of Department in 2021. She is a passionate leader, colleague and mentor, whom all students and staff admire. GCSE results have jumped, adding on average over half a grade for each student.
Patrice transformed the school’s History curriculum to include topics that mirror the students within her community and give them knowledge and understanding of cultures and stories well beyond their local area. She brought to the fore often silenced histories and is always exploring the past through interesting lenses through her own ongoing reading and study. The curriculum also now includes a study of mental health through time, introduced after concerns about the impact of the pandemic on student wellbeing.
She is now is looking to implement curriculum change on a national scale. Her work on reforming the A-Level coursework titles is being prepared by the examination boards as examples that other teachers should use to amplify voices of under-represented and silenced voices in history.
Patrick has had a profound impact at this Greater Glasgow school. He has transformed the Geography department into the highest achieving department in the school, with the level of pupil attainment also making it the one of the leading departments in East Dunbartonshire.
Patrick promotes a hands-on approach to learning, helping students believe there are no barriers to learning and achievement. He has expanded subject choice by bringing in advanced higher and Environmental Science courses, as well as improving engagement by setting up sustainability committees and clubs and creating effective revision programmes. His introduction of level 6 sustainability reflects the department’s commitment to climate change. His department also plays a vital role in the wider school, running student business enterprises such as selling fruit smoothies.
Patrick has enhanced the learning experience by organising field trips to Iceland, Italy, Loch Lomond and earth and environmental science centre Dynamic Earth. His department also has strong links with the developing world through initiatives such as connecting classrooms (Nigeria) and providing finance for toilets in developing countries.
Claire has worked in Learning Support here for over four years and regularly goes the extra mile. To her, the job goes beyond helping students with their academic studies – it is about offering encouragement, being a good listener, giving praise for achievements and being a role model. She regularly offers additional support above her workload.
Her role is also about getting to know the students well – their likes and dislikes, how they like to work best and being able to sense when there is something troubling them. Claire describes a strong sense of pride when she sees students grow in confidence, make friendships and gain independence.
Claire has worked with numerous students with complex needs. She completed a Level 2 Cache Counselling Course, enabling her to improve skills such as active listening, controlling body language and eye contact, and asking advanced open-ended questions – all helping her to support students who are struggling to build friendships, organise themselves or suffer anxieties.
Liz has worked with learners across the college for over 14 years to allow them to succeed in a variety of subjects and meet their social, emotional, behavioural and wellbeing needs. She supports all levels and a variety of age groups, from aged 14 to mature adults.
Some have complex learning and physical needs, and very individual needs; one student with social and emotional challenges resisted help and support from many members of staff. With Liz, they were able to build a strong working relationship and after initially struggling to access a learning environment, they overcame several barriers and completed a Level 2 and Level 3 qualification.
Liz is also passionate about improving outcomes for students with SEND and preparing them for life beyond college and education. Ever-adaptive and always willing to expand her knowledge, Liz trained as a sighted guide and worked extra hours to support a blind student to access learning and the working environment.
Julie has worked here for over six years, having worked for a building society for 26 years before that, where she was a Senior Mortgage Underwriter. Julie brings to the role of Teaching Assistant a wealth of experience, but critically, an adept understanding of how to build high-quality relationships with a variety of people.
Julie supports learners in a variety of scenarios and subjects across the school. She plays a vital role in supporting those with Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND) with their academic pursuits.
As well as ably assisting teachers to deliver the curriculum, she helps lead discussion sections of lessons, mark assignments using exam criteria and provide expert input into exam preparation.
Beyond the classroom, Julie offers guidance on study strategies, time management and goal setting, and provides emotional support during challenging times.
Julie regularly attends teaching and learning sessions and is keen to build her pedagogical understanding. Julie also helps run a Homework club before school.
Over her 19 years here, Lorna has always created unusual and different ways to support children in their learning and confidence. Her inspiring learning environments and displays include turning the Year 3/4 classroom into a cave for learning about the Stone Age. She designs and makes props and backdrops for school productions and has taught adults and children how to replicate her creations. She also taught all children and teachers how to sew!
Lorna has supported a number of SEND children on a 1:1 basis. She currently supports a child with complex needs and has helped them to exceed their initial targets. She also runs interventions, covers classes when teachers are absent and teaches in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) class.
In 2019, Margaretting was awarded the best Key Stage 2 reading results out of all primary schools in Essex. Lorna’s contribution to that was significant.
She also runs the gardening club and is creating a school allotment.
Becky is an exceptional individual making a significant positive impact on the lives of her students, colleagues and the wider community.
Her dedication to her disadvantaged students has involved getting up at 2am to ensure they could participate in the sponsored climb of Snowdon that she organised, whilst her initiation of student projects with an elderly care home has significantly changed the way the whole college approaches community work.
Becky’s concern for the disadvantaged has led to her personally spearheading two distinct initiatives. She set up a food and clothing bank, ‘NCP Pantry’, to give students access to free food and clothes, and supplied from donations from colleagues and local supermarkets and from collaboration with a local clothing bank. She also set up a Breakfast Club to provide students with a free meal.
Bringing in a wide range of professional guest speakers from external agencies and employers has been a hallmark of her approach in delivering Health and Social Care, enriching the curriculum and adding to her students’ cultural capital.
Duncan goes out of his way to help colleagues and pupils alike. His formal role is school business manager, but he is immersed in the school far beyond this, choosing to serve as the primary first aider, train the school football teams, ensure compliance in Health and Safety, promote the wellbeing and workload of colleagues as HR leader, support the school in meetings associated with expansion and refurbishment, and volunteer as a lollipop person. He’s out in all weathers representing the school, and in winter has come in at weekends and stayed late voluntarily to grit the paths and playgrounds to ensure that the school community is safe.
Duncan does all of this not for glory, but because “it’s the right thing to do”.
In his daily business manager role, Duncan is resourceful in ensuring that the school has a sound surplus budget, the best value for money, and that pupils and staff have everything that they need to flourish. This includes sourcing, purchasing, transporting, and refurbishing an entire building to support learners with special needs.
A true legend of The Coppice community for a quarter of a century, Elaine’s selfless passion for children’s personal development has enabled thousands of pupils to thrive socially, spiritually and physically. Her playful sense of humour is infectious; if you see a huddle of happy children on the playground, Elaine is probably at the centre, accompanied by two Thrive support dogs and wearing a crazy hat!
In recent years she has specialised her practice in the provision of Thrive to support pupils’ social and emotional wellbeing. Elaine’s creativity has played a huge part in developing indoor and outdoor wellbeing spaces and she leads a highly successful social club. She lends a helping hand to all types of activity, no matter what personal challenges are involved. Supporting adults and children alike is in her DNA.
Elaine embraces special events and organises several whole-school activities. She’s a keen supporter of Children in Need and is particularly strong in creating elaborate costumes.
Safeguarding and Wellbeing Officer since 2014, Mandy’s support for local families in this area of high deprivation is invaluable.
Always communicating with parents and understanding where the needs are, she leads a range of training to help educate them and improve their children’s life chances, including first aid training, healthy eating and the ‘Families Connect’ Course with Save the Children. It is due to Mandy’s excellent links with local charities and agencies that the academy can provide extensive extra support (with translation) for families, 82% of whom have English as an additional language.
A huge impact has been her involvement in the local International Women’s Day event, where she promoted over 40 services for the community. These included dental nurses, Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice and domestic violence support – a powerful opportunity for the community to seek help and advice in a relaxed, informal way.
In another example of her dedication, Mandy quickly sourced bunk beds, mattresses and bedding for a family whose children were sleeping on the floor and who approached her for help.
A midday supervisor since 2014 and Lead Lunchtime Supervisor since 2019 (also a cleaner/caretaker and part-time Teaching Assistant), Manjit leads the lunchtime supervisor team, line-managing 10 members of staff, “sprinkling her magic day in, day out. “
Manjit regularly addresses assemblies about expectations for behaviour at lunchtimes. Children know she is fair, firm and consistent in what she expects. She created a weekly award scheme to name eight children as ‘Lunchtime star of the week’. They sit at a top table with tablecloth, napkins, juice, fresh flowers, place mats and lights, all provided and set up by Manjit.
Manjit was recently appointed to a part-time SEN role, supporting a reception pupil with speech and language difficulties. Her impact on him has been huge, building his confidence, empowering him to make friendships and supporting him to engage with school life.
During the pandemic, she engaged the local supermarket to deliver food parcels for the school’s most vulnerable families. Post-pandemic, when the school struggled to recruit midday supervisors, Manjit delivered flyers to hundreds of neighbourhood homes on foot.
Having started here as a cover supervisor in 2013, Ryan has become an inspirational and invaluable member of the school community. After completing his degree whilst working full time, he turned down opportunities of employment elsewhere to stay here and make a meaningful impact.
Ryan has gone on to inspire students and staff alike, both inside and outside of the classroom. Not only is he a highly successful English teacher, but his selfless actions have seen him take on many voluntary roles in hope of helping others. Mental Health Ambassador, Wellbeing Champion, LGBTQ+ Lead, Head of House, Sports Coach…the list goes on!
Ryan’s most recent project has been to create and manage a new charity in support of Teenage Cancer Trust. When a former student passed away from cancer, Ryan supported the family, and ‘A Shining Light’ was created. The charity has since raised over £26,000 as well as raising awareness through a number of different projects and events.