What positives can we take from 2020?

As this strange year draws to a close, I find myself trying to reflect on the positive things that have come out of this pandemic and the ensuing lockdown we have faced globally. And one silver lining, amid all the tragedy and madness, has to be the increased respect and gratitude we have found for the key workers in our society. As CEO of the Teaching Awards Trust, I am truly uplifted by the increased understanding of, and appreciation for, the vital role teachers and schools play in our society; for improving the life chances of our children and facilitating positive community engagement in the UK. As the writer Caitlin Moran put it so succinctly in her own summary of 2020 ‘I think we all realised this year, that the only thing standing between parents and genuine, raging insanity is school, and teachers’.  And if that’s not a reason to celebrate and say thank you, I don’t know what is!

We have had our most successful year yet for the Thank a Teacher Campaign, with nearly 45,000 cards sent and received this year. The entries for the annual Pearson National Teaching Awards are at an all-time high, and I am really hopeful that more schools and teachers will be entered into the 2021 Awards to shine an important light on the great work that is taking place in schools in the most challenging of times.

It’s a really simple premise; our children are the most precious things in the world, not just to their parents but because they are the future of our society and civilisation. We put those children into the care of wonderful teachers and schools every day, for the most important years of their lives. We need to continually increase and improve our understanding and respect for how hard they work, and how vital their work is, and thank them for it. And if that is something that we can agree has happened following the lockdown, then I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel a lot better about everything.

Thank you to everyone who has made our work possible, all of our supporters but particularly the team at Pearson, our board of trustees, our wonderful judges…and most of all our teachers, and school support staff.  You all know who you are.  We thank you and salute you.

Have a wonderful Christmas and New year, and let’s make 2021 the year when everything improves…not least our continued celebration and thanks for our wonderful teachers and schools!

With best wishes,

Mary Palmer

Chief Executive Officer, The Teaching Awards Trust