Rod Bristow, CEO of Pearson UK

“The Pearson National Teaching Awards gives us a unique opportunity to champion exceptional teaching professionals across the UK.”

“The judges work on a voluntary basis and judging is an independent and peer-led process. The majority of the panel members are practising teachers and many are Teaching Award winners. The panel also includes representation from organisations across the educational spectrum. We are grateful to these dedicated professionals who give their time to ensure a smooth and credible process for those involved and to help celebrate the amazing people who work in our schools.”




Meet Lorna Lorna Bradford
Lorna BradfordGeography Teacher in Leeds, West Yorkshire
Meet Sara Sara Broadbent MBE
Sara Broadbent MBE2002 winner of Primary Teacher of the Year
Meet Sam Sam Coy
Sam CoyHead of Benjamin Adlard Primary School, 2019 winner of Primary School of the Year – making a difference.
Meet Romayne Romayne Charles
Romayne CharlesSubject Leader of a Social Sciences and Modern Ethics faculty
Meet Alan Alan Steer
Alan SteerCouncil member of the New Visions for Education Group
Meet Jashu Jashu Vekaria
Jashu VekariaWinner, the Award for Teacher of the Year in a Primary School, 2016

Lorna Bradford Geography Teacher in Leeds, West Yorkshire

Lorna Bradford teaches Geography in Leeds, West Yorkshire. A previous winner of The Award for Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School, Lorna has a keen eye for furthering progress of students through creative and innovative teaching methods. Promoted to Senior Leadership in 2015, Lorna now enjoys contributing to whole school Teaching and Learning development, especially working with newly and recently qualified teachers. In 2016, Lorna led her school to securing the World Class School Quality Mark, which recognises exceptional teaching. Judging for The Teaching Awards has been a natural progression for a true lover of teaching.

Sara Broadbent MBE 2002 winner of Primary Teacher of the Year

“In 2002 I won the National Teaching Award for Primary Teacher of the Year. I was invited to join the judging panel in 2003 and I proudly received an MBE for Services to Education in 2004. My teaching career has been focussed mainly in the Early Years and I have enjoyed the challenges of Senior Management and Local Authority Advisory work. I have a passion for Foundation Stage and Key Stage one practice; the excitement of working with enthusiastic little people has never faded. I have two young children who are both at Primary School. I am enjoying experiencing school life from a parent’s view!”

Sam Coy Head of Benjamin Adlard Primary School, 2019 winner of Primary School of the Year – making a difference.

Kathy Harwood

I am a HLTA Team Leader and I provide education and support for sick youngsters aged 4-19 years who are resident in hospital with a wide variety of medical conditions, ranging from broken bones and unexplained pain through to cancers, brain injuries and brain tumours. I have worked in the Hospital School for over 20 years and I still absolutely love my job, I feel very privileged to work with sick children and make an impact on their lives when they are at their most vulnerable. My mantra is ‘everything is education’-every child and young person has the potential to learn, our job is to ensure that we tailor learning to meet their needs. Besides my husband and two boys, my most favourite indulgences are shoes, shopping, reading and smiling- life is always better when you smile!

Anne Mullins

“I graduated with a degree in music, then began my teaching career in state secondary schools, and became Headeacher of Highbury Fields School in London. I was elected to the Council and Executive Board of ASCL (then SHA), and chaired the professional committee during the founding of Ofsted and GTCE. I was also a Founder member of the GTCE. Since retirement, I have remained heavily involved in education. I was adviser to the trustees of the Teaching Awards Trust, then director of the Teaching Awards Company. I have been judging for the Teaching Awards since 2004. I was the Chair of Governors at Laycock primary school for several years, and am currently Chair at Evelina Hospital School (GSST as well as a Trustee of ASCL Benevolent Fund and Chair of the Associates Committee. I also sit on the Trustee board of the Thomas Wall trust.”

Romayne Charles Subject Leader of a Social Sciences and Modern Ethics faculty

“I have been a teacher for 11 years and am now subject leader of a Social Sciences and Modern Ethics faculty. I currently teach three subjects and enjoy the variety and excitement working as a teacher brings. I am passionate about developing whole school teaching and learning as well as improving the wellbeing of staff as this has a direct impact on students. As a result of this I have been a union representative and am currently a school governor. I truly believe that teaching is the most rewarding career and feel privileged to get to work with young people.”

Nina Panayis

“My whole working life has been spent teaching in the East End of London. After being appointed Headteacher in one school, I was asked to take over a neighboring school that had been placed in ‘Special Measures’; becoming the first Headteacher in Newham to lead two schools. I was honoured to be presented with the UK award for ‘Teacher of the Year in a Primary School’ in 2003. Although officially retired, I still work in schools on a consultancy basis; including teaching on a regular basis.”

Becky Newman

“I have worked in Education for just over 10 years. I started out as a mid-day assistant and then as a teaching assistant. In 2010 I won a teaching award for Teaching Assistant of the Year. Since then I have become a maths teacher and teach GCSE maths at a Secondary School in Suffolk. I feel very honoured to judge for the teaching awards, I have met some very inspirational people and seen some outstanding work, but most importantly I have seen the impact this has on the Children they work with.”

Catherine Power

Catherine won the Award for Headteacher of the Year in a Primary School in 2013. She has been the head of St Philip Evans in Llanederyn, Cardiff, for 15 years. Her passion for her work and care for the staff and pupils of the school ensure that the school community always works towards continuous improvement, enabling future generations to have the best start possible in education.

Alan Steer Council member of the New Visions for Education Group

Sir Alan was head teacher of Seven Kings High School, Ilford, from 1985-2008.

He was Secondary Education Advisor for the Department for Children, Schools and Families from 2005-10, and chaired a review of Behaviour in Schools and Associated Issues.

Sir Alan is former pro-director of the Institute of Education, University of London.

He is a Council member of the New Visions for Education Group, as well as director and national judge of the Teaching Awards.

Jashu Vekaria Winner, the Award for Teacher of the Year in a Primary School, 2016

“Can you imagine, my passion is my job and I was being rewarded for a job I love?  It was one of my proudest moments!”

Jashu Vekaria
Winner, the Award for Teacher of the Year in a Primary School, 2016
Currently Deputy Headteacher Uxendon Manor Primary School


It was wonderful receiving the award as it felt I was the voice for all teachers.  As you can imagine winning such a prestigious award makes you feel both humble and elated. My career began in the London Borough of Harrow in 2002, 16 years later I won the teaching awards while working in the London Borough of Brent.  My passion for teaching remains strong and the award was a wonderful affirmation on rewarding me for a job that I simply love to do.

Following on from the award I was given many opportunities to be on TV, radio, newspapers and even written my own articles. Achievements and experiences beyond my wildest dreams and personal precious moments; these privileges would never have had happened without this award.  My career has taken an upward turn as I have reflected even more as a practitioner and have now completed my National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH).

Teaching for learning is in my blood and the experience does make you question the impact you are having on every single learner.  Striving for excellence for all pupils has always been my aim.  Every child does matter and the many roles as a teacher, carer, nurse, counsellor, negotiator and investigator highlights what a diverse and rewarding career I have the honour to be part of.

Furthermore, this year I was shortlisted for the Asian Woman of Achievement awards for teaching.  During the awards ceremony I received a high commendation.  This was truly a wow moment too as it showed how far teaching has come.  It felt like a corporate event in a very corporate world so to represent the teaching profession was fantastic.


Teaching is my vocation.  It is the very essence of me and I have always wanted to be a teacher from a very young age.  However, it was my first head teacher who noticed my potential when I was a newly qualified teacher.  She really encouraged me and focused her energy on the quiet, shy person I was back then.  Her praise and care, allowed me to blossom and my self-confidence as a teacher grew.  Shortly afterwards, I became an Advanced Skills Teacher (AST) and my role within the school developed, as did my role in the borough – this is when I started in-reach and out-reach work.

My teaching style has adapted to the numerous changes the government throws our way.  I have always had a friendly, relaxed approach with my pupils.  Learning should be fun yet at the same time, progress needs to occur in every single lesson.  This has always been my motivation.

Pastoral care is as old as time in teaching.  This is the heart of teaching.  Of course learners need to learn the academics, however, if a child has come to school without breakfast – we feed them.  He or she has a dirty jumper – we clothe them.  If a child is thirsty or hurt physically or emotionally we take care of them. If these things are not in place – how can a learner learn? It is part of the job, however it is more than a job – it is my life.

Everybody has an opinion on teaching – whether it is positive or negative.  Social media just feeds their ideas – both positive and negative. Linking back to the teaching awards, this was extremely beneficial because it connected me to the world at large.  The sense of achievement felt profound because I felt inspired by all the comments from around the world.  Being Asian, my community (and the wider world) really supported and encouraged me.  Also, being a woman, I feel I have now inspired others.  In life you have to give and take and I believe I education reflects this.


My most memorable experience in teaching is taking a child with special educational needs to a 5 day residential.  This child (because of his needs) needed to bring his parents.  So that his parents could be part of this amazing, once in a life time experience, I needed to vacate my teacher room and be placed in a hut in the back of the woods (no electricity or running water but extra spiders for special measure)!  However, the look of pure joy both on this child’s face and the parents will be eternally etched in my memory.

My most memorable moment in teaching has to be dancing with Strictly Come Dancing dancer  –  Brendan Cole!  As a ‘treat’ for winning the Teaching Award, the news was broken to me with a surprise guest.  My heart was pounding like an African drum.  Strictly is the best show ever!  However, underpinning this was the emotion I felt as my career flashed before my very eyes… Can you imagine, my passion is my job and I was being rewarded for a job I love?  It was one of my proudest moments!

Many pupils come back and visit me and say I made their educational experience exciting and that they remember me.  I am always so touched and honoured when this happens.


Be positive! Seek advice! Have fun!  It can be a lonely once you start your career as everybody seems to know what they are doing!  However, there are such wonderful teachers out there who want to coach and mentor as well as take these young teachers under their wings so that eventually they can fly.  This is what happened to me at my school in Harrow and I will be forever grateful for this.


Teaching has been recycled over the years – it is like fashion.  If it’s topical to state children cannot read, then there is a big push on reading.  If writing is not good enough, then there is a big push on grammar.  If we are being compared to China and Singapore, then it’s our maths which needs to change.  We can either embrace the change or we can be negative and despondent with our attitude.  Personally, I will always embrace change as we are all evolving.  Nothing is stagnant – not just in teaching but in life too.

I love teaching! It keeps you young and the children are the heart of it all. The feel good factor of getting up daily for a job you love – nothing can beat it! Realising that you are living your dream is an indescribable feeling.  Knowing that you are teaching the future generation will always give you a natural high.

Ultimately, you need to love this job and you have to want to be here. It can be hard when a child is hurting emotionally.  It can affect family life when you are in school for 14 hours a day.  So to encourage others to stay is a tricky question to answer.  Why would you encourage somebody if they do not want to stay?  I can advise them, coach them, mentor them but at the end of the day it will be their decision.

Sue Williamson Director and CEO of SSAT

Sue began her working life as an administrator in the NHS.  She had wanted to become a teacher, but was advised by her teachers not to do it! She studied for her BA (Hons) in Humanities (English and History) whilst continuing to work in the NHS, and went on to study for the PGCE (History) at the Institute of Education, London. Sue began teaching as Head of History at Rounds Manor School in Northamptonshire. Sue’s first headship was at Monks’ Dyke School in Lincolnshire.

Sue joined the SSAT, a national organisation which works with schools to improve performance through the development of staff and students, in 2002 as Director of Affiliation with responsibility for membership, innovation and the National Conference.  She developed SSAT’s suite of leadership programmes working with outstanding headteachers like David Carter and Mike Wilkins.

Sue has written widely on education, including pamphlets on personalising learning and redesigning schooling.



Geraint Rees

Geraint Rees for the last 4 years has been on secondment as an expert adviser to Welsh Government. After teaching in Kenya in the 1980s, he then worked as a teacher and headteacher for over 20 years in Welsh and English medium settings in Wales. Following 10 years as the founding headteacher of Ysgol Plasmawr he worked as a Headteacher Adviser and Executive Headteacher in Cardiff His career has involved being a head of business education, a head of sixth form, a prison teacher, youth work volunteer, and has undertaken a wide range of roles within the examination system. His main interests are history, sport, live music, and human rights campaigning.

Jane Nolan

Jane is the Executive Principal of Ormiston South Parade Academy, Grimsby and leads the primary schools across her MAT. She is the 2018 Silver Winner in two categories and TES Headteacher of the Year 2018. Jane’s academy is ranked in the top 3% of primary schools for progress, and all levels of attainment are well above average. Jane sits on a number of national forums including the DfE’s Head Teacher Reference Group, which provides feedback and advice on matters of national education policy. Prior to headship, Jane held primary teaching and leadership positions in schools throughout the north of England

Jodie Lopez

Jodie worked as a teacher, ICT coordinator, Assessment Lead and Enrichment coordinator in primary schools in East and South East London. She won a number of awards, particularly for her use of technology across the curriculum and to support school staff and parents. Since leaving full time teaching to start a family, Jodie has been working in education technology and primary assessment. Jodie is delighted to continue to be a judge for the Teaching Awards as it never fails to inspire her and remind her of the amazing professionals we are lucky to have, in the UK, teaching and caring for our children.

Justin McNamara

Currently Senior Curriculum Manager at New City College’s Shoreditch campus for Hospitality & Catering / Performing Arts. Justin has been in education for the past twelve years, primarily as a lecturer but has also had roles in quality improvement and curriculum design. As part of the Catering & Hospitality Department, “Rouge Catering”, Justin won the Award for FE Team or Lecturer of the Year 2017.

Kevin Harcombe

2007 UK winner HT of Year. Currently in third headship, Chair of Hampshire’s Primary Standing Committee, and part-time advisor for Hants and IoW. I have spoken on leadership and school improvement at The TES Show (Olympia), The Education Show (NEC) and co-presented a talk on children and reading with Sue Palmer (author of Toxic Childhood) at The Sunday Times Festival of Education (Wellington College). I am the author of two books, Brilliant Primary Teacher (Pearson) and How To Survive and Succeed as a Headteacher (Findel). I have written for The Guardian, Independent and TES and today write a monthly column for Teach Primary Magazine.

Mark Lambert

Michael Goves

Most importantly I am a science teacher, and have had the pleasure of teaching in both Independent and State sectors for 13 years. Seven of those have been judging at national level in the Pearson Teaching Awards. My experience spans outstanding, to requiring improvement education, to senior leadership level. In 2014 I was fortunate enough to be nominated the Top Overseas Teacher by the Ministry of Education, Singapore, and judge in the DfE’s Character Awards. My passion for pedagogy, professional development and grass root teacher education, led me to currently work as senior professional tutor with Ark’s Teacher Training program.

Michael Grant

Teaching is a passion of mine, as since the start of my career I have seen clearly the impact that it can make on the lives of young people. The ability to make a positive change to someone’s life cannot be underestimated. Whether this is through a conversation in the corridor, the persistent belief in their own abilities or a resource that allows them to access something that they have always struggled with, teachers have the power to enhance and empower young people in today’s society.

Peter Jenkins

“I retired early from Primary Education after a long career in schools in deprived areas. I spent the last 20 years as Deputy Headteacher and occasionally Acting Head in a large primary school in the city. After retirement I became Chair of Governors at the same school, leading it for 20 years up to federation status and then up to Academy status after which I retired.”

Raza Siddique

Raza is an experienced lecturer in sport who provides an outstanding learner experience inside and outside the classroom. He uses technology and student-centred learning as an engagement tool in all lessons. Working outside of college, he provides the next generation of footballers and Rugby League players with a good understanding of the sport. Raza is dad of three children aged 12, 8 and 1 and husband to Clare.

Tony Gray

Sarah Dignasse

Sarah has 28 years experience in teaching with 13 of these as a secondary headteacher of a large comprehensive school.
She is currently working as a School Improvement Advisor within two local authority areas. She is a Professional Officer for a consortium of 8 Essex secondary schools working together to bring about school improvement, a 14-19 co-ordinator for a NW Essex consortium of schools focussing on Alternative Education and IAG, and also works as an External Advisor for Headteacher Performance Management and for Headteacher appointments. Additionally Sarah is a member of an Interim Executive Board and is Director of a Multi-Academy Trust. She is Chair of Trustees of two Essex based charities: The David Randall Foundation and Families InFocus (Essex).

Bob Twells

Dale McMorran

Maire Thompson

Pam Roberts

Ross Morrison McGill

Samantha Hunt

Sheila Ralph

Ava Sturridge-Packer CBE

Ava has served as a Head Teacher for 20 years and her teaching career also included serving as a Teacher Governor and a Parent Governor. For this reason, Ava has a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with existing and future governors as she firmly believes that irrespective of who you are or whatever your background, you do have something to give in support of a school.