We asked our judges what makes a good entry – here are their top tips on how to maximise your success when entering a colleague into the Pearson National Teaching Awards.

GIVE YOUR ENTRY STRUCTURE

A clear structure makes reading easier. Include headings, sub-headings, and bullet points. A brief summary at the beginning providing an overview of the main reasons for the entry is useful. Ensure your entry is written in clear, jargon-free English, and answers all the criteria clearly, identifying excellent practice. Describe the context to give our judges a feel for the nominee in their school context. You can include here what the most challenging aspect of their role is. Crucially, the entry should be written by someone who really knows the person, or the nominator has drawn on the knowledge of those who do.

EVIDENCE EVIDENCE EVIDENCE

Evidence is one of the most important aspects of your entry! Our judges like to see clear and succinct evidence of impact, with written details and examples. They want to read about what difference your nominee has made to students, colleagues, the school and wider community, be that regionally, nationally or internationally. If a Headteacher is felt to have turned the school around, they want to see how.

Impact on learners – provide real examples and detail of lessons and their direct impact on learners.  Practical evidence of high quality, inspirational teaching and learning in the classroom; of a love of learning and excellent classroom skills.  For Teaching assistants and school leaders, evidence of inspirational support / leadership and creative approaches that enthuse, engage and motivate the children and staff. Tell us about particularly magical learning experiences.

Impact on colleagues:  Examples of how they influence colleagues; supported others and/or helped them to improve.  Think about their place amongst the staff community outside of the class or staffroom – for example, have they done something to boost morale? Are they always lifting up those around them in some way? Whether it seems big or small our judges love to hear about it.

Impact on the wider school community:  Examples of their overall contribution to the wider life of the school and community

 

BRING THE ENTRY TO LIFE WITH QUOTES

Written statements and quotes tell a much more interesting story than data – comments from parents or pupils who have been transformed or in other ways positively affected by the nominee.  These are better when they reference something specific for example, ‘Ms X transformed things for me when she… the effect this had was that…’

Our judges say that often the key nuggets they find out about a nominee are when they hear from parents and students who are on the receiving end of the extra mile the nominee takes.  Include supportive quotes from a wide pool such as  MAT or Local Authority, businesses, health or social care, local community voices. All these bring to light impact beyond the classroom.

THE MAGIC / WOW FACTOR

Simply put, if your nominee isn’t shortlisted what would our judges be missing out on?  Tell us the values and the truly unique examples in practice that make your nominee stand out from the norm – something related to their job, that has made a difference to children’s lives, but that has their personal stamp to it. They love to see an element of something unseen in the school before or unlikely to be apparent in other schools, especially when it’s through ingenuity, innovation, determination or sheer force of will, and not extensive working hours! What makes this teacher a National Award winner, and how could us showcasing their exemplary practice positively impact other educators across the UK?

ABOVE AND BEYOND AND/OR EXTRA CURRICULAR

Tell us about any opportunities offered for children e.g. extra curricular activities that they have either organised or taken part in, achievements e.g. Eco Schools / Healthy Schools/ NACE/ Thinking Skills Awards that they have led or contributed to.

THE PERSON, NOT THE TEACHER

It’s important for our judges to get a feel of the person, not just the teacher. What has made the nominee the person s/he is? Are there influences from their own education, a significant person, or event? What inspired them to teach?

What to AVOID when writing your entry:

DATA

Although we expect to see some pupil progress or attainment data, or recognition by external agencies such as OFSTED to show your nominee’s impact on pupils, our judges prefer this to be kept to a minimum.  They carry out due diligence if your entry reaches shortlisting stage. At this point they can obtain data / Ofsted reports.

ENTRIES THAT ARE NOT UNIQUE

If you have entered more than one colleague into the Awards their entries MUST be unique. Ensure your entry is specific to the teacher you are nominating, and to the Pearson National Teaching Awards category criteria.

LINKS

Increasingly, judges are seeing more hyperlinks to other documents, videos, social media etc. This increases the time it can take to read an entry. Judges are happy to see these on a judging visit, but prefer written evidence on the initial entry form.