Revealed: The 2021 Pearson Teaching Awards winners

Fifteen winners from across UK schools and colleges recognised

Fifteen winners from across UK schools and colleges recognised

Fifteen winners from across UK schools and colleges have been honoured in the 2021 Pearson Teaching Awards for their dedicated work in education.

The “inspirational” gold winners have been revealed following a week-long celebration of teaching on the BBC’s The One Show. 

Now in their 23rd year, the awards celebrate the best teaching across the UK and thousands of nominations were received for the gold award winners.

The week ended with all the award-winning teachers, teaching assistants and lecturers being presented with their trophies at a ceremony at The Brewery in the City of London.

Here are this year’s winners. You can also read about the silver award winners here.

Primary teacher of the year

Jacqueline Birch, St Peter’s C of E Primary School, Wigan

Jacqueline is described as an “inspirational educator” who is a “passionate advocate for children, working tirelessly to unlock their potential”.

During lockdown she embraced technology, supporting learners with their studies and wellbeing remotely as well as producing a digital Christmas video instead of a nativity play.

Secondary teacher of the year

Abigail Chase, Bassaleg School, Newport (Wales)

An English teacher and associate head for pedagogy and reflective practice, Abigail “inspires the whole school community with her infectious passion for learning and genuine care for pupils’ wellbeing”.

She embodies “to her core everything teachers should aspire to in the way she sets the highest expectations for herself and those around her”.

Outstanding new teacher

Hannah Lewis, Troedyrhiw Community Primary, Merthyr Tydfil

Hannah is described as a “vibrant, enthusiastic and committed teacher who motivates positive learning attitudes from all those around her”.

During lockdown, she was “instrumental” in training parents and children to use digital devices, and followed up with in-school support sessions.

Primary school head of the year

Reema Reid, Hollydale Primary School, London

The daughter of a Windrush immigrant who started in education as a lunchtime supervisor and TA in Lambeth, Reema has worked as a substantive headteacher in Southwark since 2013.

As headteacher, she has been “at the forefront” of tracking initiatives that have ensured her school can respond to the challenges of a changing pupil demographic and is driven by continuous school improvement.

Secondary school head of the year

Michael Allen, Lisneal College, Derry (NI)

Michael Allen joined Lisneal College in 2015 as headteacher and his commitment, leadership and inspiration to all stakeholders “has been nothing less than outstanding every day since”.

His “outstanding leadership” has resulted in a dramatic increase in school enrolment and through gradual change and improvement, he has taken the college’s provision to “another level”.

Primary school of the year

Roundhay Primary School, Leeds

Roundhay School has been the “most oversubscribed primary school in Leeds” for the past couple of years, and “consistently” achieves outcomes above the national average.

Over the last 18 months, Roundhay supported the school community through the pandemic by setting up a foodbank and creating bereavement boxes for children who had lost relatives or other loved ones to Covid.

Secondary school of the year

Wymondham College, Norfolk

Wymondham College is one of only a handful of state boarding schools in the country, creating a “culturally diverse community with students from a huge range of backgrounds”.

Many students come from deprived areas and have challenging personal circumstances and are supported to “make great academic and personal progress”.

Excellence in special needs education

Stephen Evans, Derwen College, Shropshire

As sports and leisure co-ordinator for a further education college which caters for young people with a range of learning difficulties, Steve’s students have a wide variety of complex special educational needs and disabilities.

His impact on these students has been described as “life-changing” as he works tirelessly to ensure that every young person is included in the huge range of activities he provides and is able to benefit from regular exercise.

Teaching assistant of the year

Dorota Hall, St Edward’s School, Dorset

Since joining St Edward’s School, Dorota has made a “significant difference” to the learning of every child through her meticulously planned and engaging literacy lessons.

Her patience and determination with students with considerable speech and communication challenges have enabled children to socialise and engage “beyond expectations”. 

Impact through partnership

Roma Narrowing the Gap Team, Queen Katharine Academy, Cambridgeshire

Staff at Queen Katharine Academy (QKA) have worked “tirelessly” to understand and support their Gypsy-Roma community, which were originally at the top of school statistics for disruption, poor attainment and attendance.

They visited the Roma community in Slovakia to better understand the people and culture firsthand, employed Roma staff to better foster inclusion, and worked closely with Roma educational organisations to share best practice for supporting these students.

Digital innovator of the year

Emma Darcy, Denbigh High School, Bedfordshire

Emma has been the “driving force” behind the strategic implementation of technology for learning across all schools in the Chiltern Learning Trust MAT, ensuring access for all students.

Her work has ensured digital poverty does not affect some of the most disadvantaged students in the country, long before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lockdown hero award for learner and community support

Matt Jenkins and Jo Fison, The Deaf Academy, Devon

Matt Jenkins is described as an enthusiastic teacher who applies solutions to difficulties commonly faced by deaf learners.

Driven by a desire to ensure that deaf learners had equal access to information and learning around Covid, Matt developed the popular ‘Ask a Deaf Teacher’ YouTube channel.

Jo Fison is an experienced teacher who ensured that online platforms were sign language friendly, able to stream sign language efficiently and clearly, and considered well-being at the heart of all delivery.

She ensured online platforms were accessible to all, even those who had not grown up within the digital age, giving up much of her time, to lead, to handhold and to cajole staff in believing that teaching remotely was possible.

Lifetime achievement award

Marie Lindsay, Saint Mary’s College, Derry (NI)

Marie Lindsey has devoted her 35-year career as an educator to inspiring generations of young women in the city of Derry and beyond.

Her leadership of St Mary’s College has had a “life changing impact” on her pupils, their families and the wider community, and the school is recognised as one of the highest performing all ability secondary schools in Northern Ireland.

FE lecturer of the year

Melissa Tisdale, Walsall College

Melissa has some of the highest achieving media students in the country, despite many students coming from socially deprived areas with historic challenges to education.

Her success stems from her independent production company, Future Flames, where students gain valuable real-world work experience on external commissions, including filming and editing for the NHS.

FE team of the year

The PE Department, New College Pontefract

The team over the last five years has built not only an outstanding track-record of learner outcomes, but also a reputation as the largest provider of extra-curricular activities across the college.

The commitment of the department has led to many standout student athletes and stories of sporting successes. The department has produced students who play hockey for England, as well as Team GB swimmers.

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