Sixteen winners from across UK schools and colleges have been honoured in the 2022 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 24th 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, schools, leaders, teaching assistants and lecturers being presented with their trophies at a ceremony at The Brewery in the City of London.
Education secretary Gillian Keegan congratulated the winners, saying their “fantastic work and dedication to their students is truly an inspiration, and these awards provide well earnt recognition of the work of incredible teachers and school staff up and down the country”.
“We have some of the best teachers in the world and I want to thank every single person working so hard to support children and young people for their expertise and commitment.”
Here are this year’s winners. You can also read about the silver award winners here.
Primary teacher of the year
Nicola Richards, Caegarw Primary School, Mountain Ash, Wales
Nicola is described as an “inspirational teacher who places staff and pupil wellbeing at the heart of the whole school curriculum”.
Her “sunny and positive approach to school life is infectious, and she is a much-loved member of staff”.
Secondary teacher of the year
Tara Hall, Fir Vale School, Sheffield
Tara started as literacy co-ordinator at Fir Vale School in 1999 and “has been a leader at all levels, from head of english to mentoring early career teachers and those in teacher training”.
She mentors a teacher, and former pupil, “who couldn’t speak English when they joined the school, who credits Tara with turning their life around”.
Outstanding new teacher
Simon Wheatcroft, Outwood Academy Adwick, Doncaster
Simon is a motivator and is described by colleagues as “an inspiration to his entire school community”.
He “brings a love of technology and a wealth of knowledge and industry experience into the classroom to bring alive for students the impact of technologies in society”.
Primary headteacher of the year
Helen Stott, Allerton CE Primary School, Leeds
Helen has “shown throughout her 30-year career a burning passion that the arts are not the advantage of the privileged but a right for every young citizen”.
She is a “strong, inspirational, and open leader with the courage to take risks”. Helen is “determined to make the school a home from home”.
Secondary headteacher of the year
Andrew O’Neill, All Saints Catholic College, Kensington
When he was appointed as head in 2016, the “future of the school was bleak”. In 2022, All Saints is a “completely different environment, both physically and academically”.
A 2021 Ofsted inspection which marked the school as ‘good’ also suggested that there was “enough evidence of improved performance to suggest that the school could be judged to be outstanding”.
Primary school of the year
Port Ellen Primary School, Isle of Islay, Scotland
Port Ellen Primary is a “small school with big ambitions, central to the heart of the community”.
Located on the Isle of Islay, a two-hour ferry journey from the Scottish mainland, the curriculum is “designed around island life and has won a number of awards around STEM and entrepreneurialism”.
Secondary school of the year
Limavady High School, Limavady, Northern Ireland
Limavady High School in Causeway Coast and Glens in Northern Ireland has a “dedicated, dynamic, and hardworking team of teaching and non-teaching staff who are all committed to developing the whole child”.
The ethos of the school is “one of inclusivity and support in a caring environment where each child is valued and the school specialises in pastoral care”.
Excellence in special needs education
Andrew Sanders, Moorcroft School, Uxbridge
Moorcroft is an ‘outstanding’ secondary special school for students aged 11-19 with severe learning difficulties, profound and multiple learning difficulties and autistic spectrum disorders.
Sanders is described by colleagues as “more than a headteacher: an educator, a facilitator, a community leader and the ‘steady rock’ of the school”.
Teaching assistant of the year
Esta Bernardini, Carlton Keighley, Keighley
Esta joined Carlton Keighley as a dinner lady, then volunteered as an unpaid teaching assistant before applying for a role supporting a visually impaired student.
She has “worked tirelessly to support students with additional learning needs to be successful, and has quietly transformed the culture of special education needs and disabilities (SEND) support there”.
Carolynn Southcombe, Cottingham CofE Primary School, Cottingham
Carolynn has worked as an administrator at the school for 20 years. She organises student enrichment trips, arranges weekly whole school yoga sessions, and opens these up to students and parents.
She also leads the Magnificent Minds group, working with select children who work as role models to promote wellbeing and healthy living to other students, as well as the ‘Love to Lunch’ group which invites family members into school to eat with the children.
Early years team of the year
Redgate Community Primary School, Liverpool
The early years team at Redgate has grown from one teacher and a teaching assistant working alongside seven reception pupils in 2015, to the 20-strong team it is today, which works across nursery, reception and the complex needs unit, supporting 84 children.
This growth “has brought new and exciting opportunities for the children and families in the community to learn and develop together within an inclusive, nurturing, child-centred and play-rich environment”.
Impact through partnership
Royal Opera House: Create and Dance Partnership in Coventry, Earlsdon Primary School, Coventry
In 2019, the Royal Opera House’s Create and Dance team partnered with Coventry Schools, the Local Cultural Education Partnership (CCEP), Coventry City Council and Coventry City of Culture.
The partnership assembled schools across Coventry to address a perceived gap in inclusive dance provision. It continued throughout the pandemic, offering online events, and has since launched a programme for all schools in the area.
Lifetime achievement award
Angela Williams, Huddersfield New College, Huddersfield
During her 15 years as Principal at Huddersfield New College, Angela has helped “well over 18,000 young people to achieve their dreams in an environment that provides equality of opportunity for all”.
She “transformed the post-16 education available to young people in Kirklees and the surrounding areas, and their life chances. Huddersfield New College is now in the top 10 per cent of colleges in the UK”.
Digital innovator of the year
Kalam Neale, Barnsley College
Kalam has “envisioned, created and driven ground-breaking, specialist digital provision with educational development at its heart”.
Barnsley College has become a sector leader in the field “because of his trailblazing work, and his expertise is now in demand in the UK and across the world”.
FE team of the year
Health Studies Team at North West Regional College, Londonderry, Northern Ireland
The health studies team is “focused, passionate and committed, and support their students to reach their professional goals and open doors to bright futures for them”. The team brings years of “unique professional health and caring experience with them”.
They are focussed on introducing their students to the practical skills they need to succeed in a career in the health services, including through work placements. They have an “overwhelming sense of duty, to their students and to the health profession”.
FE lecturer of the Year
Steph Lee-Vae, The Bedford College Group
Steph’s “boundless energy, prolific ideas and ability to network drives an extensive list of opportunities for their students”. Her courses have a track record of 100% retention and achievement over the past few years.
Steph set up a YouTube channel during lockdown in 2020-21, with video tutorials and digital workshops for students to access at their own pace, so that no one was left behind. It remains in place in 2022.