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In the News - Thom Sherrington

Thom Sherrington, 24, is a history teacher at Aboyne Academy in Aberdeenshire. Last June he became the Scottish Schools Young Thinker of the Year, winning the title with a paper on whether Leonardo da Vinci would have achieved excellence in the Scottish education system. He went on to win the UK and Ireland Young Thinker of the Year in January with his paper "Does Britain value thought?"

Who nominated you and why?

"The headteacher nominated me for the award and I honestly have absolutely no idea why. I clearly must have impressed him at the job interview or something!"

So would da Vinci have been 'excellent' today?

"Yes, of course. I think he is the most excellent man ever. But he wouldn't have been able to learn the way he did in our education system. He would excel in school, but would not have the opportunity to exceed in as many fields as he did in his day."

Do you encourage your class to think?

"I certainly try to. It's not easy when you've got lots to cover and I have to follow the curriculum - but I do my best."

Is Britain short of thinkers?

"Yes, definitely - this is what my second paper was about. I'm frustrated that we used to celebrate great thinkers, such as George Orwell, but now all you see in the newspapers are people like Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole. Britain is the home to some of the best art and culture and we risk forgetting that. Thinking should be at the heart of the education system and teachers should be giving children something to think about and be inspired by."

Who is your favourite famous thinker?

"Leonardo da Vinci is definitely my favourite. George Orwell also comes close to the top. I re-read Nineteen Eighty-Four in preparation for the second paper I submitted. I saw a different side of it and it really inspired me."

What are your plans for the future?

"The competition has got me into writing again. I really enjoyed writing at school but I didn't practise it much afterwards. I definitely intend to write more - not necessarily about thinking, though."

How does a Young Thinker spend his spare time?

"Cycling is my biggest passion and I'd love to cycle around the world one day and write about my experience. I also really enjoy running and plan to do my first marathon in Edinburgh this year. I like anything active that keeps me out of the pub."

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