Selected from thousands of nominations, Melissa Tisdale, a lecturer at Walsall College, in Walsall, in the West Midlands, has been honoured as one of 102 Pearson National Teaching Silver Award winners across the country. Melissa Tisdale was honoured with a Silver Award in The Award for FE Lecturer of the Year for her outstanding commitment to changing the lives of the children she works with every day.

Melissa has some of the highest achieving Media learners in the country despite many students coming from socially deprived areas with historic challenges to education. Her success comes from her independent production company, run by students where they can gain valuable real-world work experience on external commissions, including filming and editing for the NHS.

Melissa also created the college’s own film festival through her company, with this annual festival raising funds for the charity Mind – more than £1,000 this year despite all being online. Her students gain incredible experience through her work as well as the chance to put together a professional-quality showreel when entering the world of employment.

Melissa Tisdale has now been shortlisted to win one of just 15 Gold Awards later in the year, in a programme which will be broadcast on the BBC. This is a great opportunity to celebrate the exceptional school staff who have worked wonders during an incredibly challenging time for educators across the country.

Jatinder Sharma, OBE, Walsall College Principal and chief executive said: “This is a much-deserved accolade for Melissa. She is a lecturer who embodies the professionalism, dedication, teaching quality and excellence that we value. Her curriculum model brings together practical, industry-based learning with the input of a growing network of employers. The impact on our students’ personal development, confidence and ambitions is felt across our communities and is fantastic to see.

“My colleagues, the college governors and I send Melissa our warmest congratulations and wish her luck in the Gold Awards.”

The Silver Award winners are being honoured as part of the wider celebrations for ‘Thank a Teacher Day’, a national campaign to honour and recognise school staff for their incredible work. The celebrations follow new data which shows how the previous year’s lockdowns have significantly changed how families across the country view the role of teachers.

New research from Parentkind and The Teaching Awards Trust highlights that three in four parents and carers have a newfound respect for the teaching profession following their experiences of remote learning during lockdown. 74.9 per cent of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they had more respect for the work that teachers do following their family’s experiences of remote learning.

The last year has seen a wealth of stories of teachers making care visits to vulnerable families, coming up with innovative ways of remote teaching, keeping their pupils settled by regularly checking in and even using their school sites for Covid-19 testing when classes did return to school. There has never been a better time to appreciate them and the vital work they do.

The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of excellence in education, founded in 1998 by Lord Puttnam to recognise the life-changing impact an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of the young people they work with. This year marks its 22nd year of celebrating, award-winning teachers, teaching assistants, headteachers and lecturers across the UK.