The Pearson Teaching Awards

Celebrating transformational teaching



Rod Bristow, CEO of Pearson UK

“The Pearson 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 include 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.”



Steve Baker
“I am the Principal of a hard federation comprising two outstanding SEMH schools in Merseyside. We use non-confrontational approaches to behaviour modification and the secondary school is a sanction free zone; staff focus on developing empathy and pro-social skills and are researching the impact of our work with Goldsmiths . A former Ofsted inspector, I develop school leaders across England for Ambition School Leadership and am on the advisory board of the think tank Learnus. I also work with prisons nationwide on developing a culture of rehabilitation. Before teaching I worked as a Forensic Anthropologist collecting evidence of the Bosnian genocide and am now on the North West board of the charity Remembering Srebrenica, raising awareness of the consequences of hate.

Simon Bayliss
Simon is a previous winner of the Pearson Teaching Award in the category of Outstanding New Teacher in 2015. During his teaching career to date, Simon has worked as a Head of Department, Head of Year and most recently as a Head of House and school Designated Safeguarding Lead, joining the senior leadership team. Prior to training as a teacher, Simon worked as a Paramedic within the NHS and this has contributed to his interest in evidence-based-practice, which he has pursue within his school and through a MSc degree in education with a focus on quality feedback to students.

Lorna Bradford
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
“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!”

David Butler OBE
Ray Chambers
Sarah Dignasse
Michael Goves
Tony Gray
Samantha Grimmer

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.

Samantha Hunt
Sam Hunt is the Deputy Headteacher at Sandhurst School. After winning the Secondary School Teacher of the Year Award for the South of England in 2001, her work in anti-racism and genocide education led her to win the Anne Frank Award for Inspirational Educator of the Year. She has also been recognised as a “Pride of Bracknell” and as a Sue Ryder Woman of Achievement. Holocaust and genocide education is her passion. Sam is on the advisory boards of a number of genocide-prevention organisations and has also worked extensively in Rwanda, leading initiatives to provide homes, income-generating activities and education for genocide orphans.

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.”

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.

Ross McGill
Ross Morrison McGill is @TeacherToolkit, the ‘most followed educator on Twitter in the UK’ and founder of one of the most popular education websites in the U.K. He is an award-winning blogger, author and teacher with over 20 years teaching and school leadership experience in some the most challenging schools in London. In December 2015, he was nominated for The Sunday Times ‘500 Most Influential People in Britain 2015‘ and remains the only classroom teacher to have featured to this day …

Ann 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.”

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.”

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.”

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.

Liz Quinn MBE
Liz is a former winner of the Headteacher of the Year Award. She joined Stourport High as an assistant head teacher in 1994, and was appointed as head teacher in 2000. In 2009, OFSTED awarded the school an “outstanding” status.  The school gained academy status in 2011, which saw Liz become principal, followed by a second “outstanding” OFSTED report in 2012. She was awarded an MBE for her services to education in 2017.

Sheila Ralph
“I am a recently retired headteacher from one of the largest primary school in South Yorkshire, having over 34 years teaching and leading experience in all key primary phases and a Local Leader in Education. I have been judging for the Teaching Awards since 2005. One teacher made a difference in my life; I aimed throughout my teaching career to make a difference in many childrens’ lives. No child ever asked to be born; my entire philosophy was aimed at creating learning opportunities and environments for all to succeed, leading staff to work together ‘to make smiles grow’ enabling happy confident individuals to thrive.”

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.

Pam Roberts
“I have recently retired after 35 years of teaching. I was a Primary School Teacher and Deputy Head working in schools in Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire and Monmouthshire. I thoroughly enjoyed my teaching career and I am now  enjoying the freedom to pursue other interests and challenges. I have been a Teaching Awards Judge since winning the UK award in 2004.”

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.

Sir Alan Steer
Alan was head teacher of a large comprehensive school in East London.  The school was repeatedly judged to be outstanding by Ofsted and in 2004 he was knighted for his services to Education.  From 2001 Alan acted as an adviser to the D. f. E. and in 2005 was responsible for producing the acclaimed report: Learning Behaviour.  He has served as Pro Director at the Institute of Education (UCL) and was a non executive member of the Ofsted Board.

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.

Bob Twells
“Have been in teaching for 30 years and have recently retired after 20 years of headship. I thoroughly enjoyed my time and now stay in contact with schools through my new role of consultant. Before ‘ED’ I was in the RAF finishing my career on 50 Squadron-Vulcan bombers
I am married to Gill, have three children, two dogs and live in the lovely village of Claygate, Surrey. I love walking, travel, cycling and swimming and cannot resist visits to art galleries (I even ran one for a short period). I also enjoy cooking and even catered for two different weddings.”

Jashu Vekaria
Jashu Vekaria has been teaching for 15 years, she has supported colleagues across many schools in Harrow and built up an excellent reputation. She moved to Uxendon Manor Primary School in Brent in September 2010 and has worked at the school for six years – the first two as an Advanced Skills Teacher and from 2012 as the Deputy Headteacher. She is currently playing a leading role in delivering training as part of the schools designation by the Brent Schools Partnership as a ‘Specialist Centre for Mathematics’. She has made a tremendous impact in the schools and communities in which she has worked. Jashu is a wonderfully gifted teacher and has been an inspiration to both children and adults alike.

Sue Williamson
Sue Williamson is chief executive of SSAT. Sue’s early career began with various posts at schools in Northamptonshire and Berkshire, before becoming headteacher of Monks’ Dyke School in Lincolnshire. As headteacher, examination results went from 15% to 56% GCSEs 5 A*- C. Sue joined SSAT in 2002 as director of affiliation with responsibility for membership, leadership, innovation, and the national conference. She later worked on the personalising learning agenda, and introduced iNet, working with schools internationally. She became chief executive in November 2011. Sue is a chair of governors, a fellow of the RSA and a trustee of several charities.



  • All Thank Yous received before Friday 9th March are eligibile to be endorsed as entries for the 2018 awards. Thank you messages received after this date can be entered in next year’s awards.
  • The entry deadline for the 2018 awards is Friday 16th March.
  • The judging period is between April and May.
  • Silver Winners are announced on Thank a Teacher Day on Friday 22nd June.
  • Silver winners are celebrated at an event on the Terrace at the House of Commons in early July.
  • The UK Ceremony is televised in October.