Teachers who engage and inspire pupils are truly worth their weight in gold.
I’m sure many people have fond memories of a teacher from their childhood who had a knack of presenting a complicated subject in an understandable and engrossing way. Or another who found a method to convey a concept or a point of view in an unusual but engaging manner.
In Swindon we are fortunate to have many such teachers who really do go the extra mile to help our children achieve their full potential. I was lucky enough on Thursday last week (14 July) to attend the first-ever Swindon Education Excellence Awards at STEAM Museum. The awards were organised by Swindon Borough Council and are designed to celebrate and promote excellent teaching locally.
I gave a short speech to welcome all of those who attended the ceremony, which included eleven teachers from schools all over Swindon who received Teacher Excellence Awards.
Neil Withers, Head of History at Kingsdown School, was one – he was actually a pupil at Kingsdown and did his teacher training there, so he clearly knows the school well and is obviously an asset.
School Achievement Awards and School Good Practice Awards were also handed out, as were two Silver Healthy Schools Awards – to Holy Family Catholic Primary School and Westlea Primary School to mark innovative work they have done around healthy eating, which has contributed to raising attainment.
There was also the TeachFirst Teacher of the Year Award, which went to Joanne Thompson, who teaches French and German at Nova Hreod Academy. It was hugely encouraging to witness so much enthusiasm in the room and I know that the new idea of the awards was warmly welcomed.
Unfortunately I had to leave the ceremony after giving my speech as I had to prepare for that evening’s Full Council meeting, but Councillor Fionuala Foley, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, and Swindon Mayor Councillor Eric Shaw were on hand to present winners with their awards.
I know they were equally impressed as I was with the calibre of the teachers in the room. Celebrating success is extremely important. I’m sure recognising teachers for their dedicated hard work and acknowledging them for their efforts through an awards ceremony will play a part in helping to raise standards and attainment in our local schools even further.
I would like to congratulate all of the award winners and thank them for their continued hard work. It really is greatly appreciated.