Revealed: Tes' 10 most influential people of 2019

An inspiring headteacher, an A-list celebrity, a teenage campaigner and a determined college student are among Tes' people of the year 2019

John Roberts

Tes' person of the year has had greatness

The headteacher of a primary school that prevailed in a legal battle after facing angry protests against teaching children about LGBT+ families has been chosen as Tes' person of the year 2019.

Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, the head of Anderton Park Primary in Birmingham, has emerged as a champion for the importance of teaching children about equality in the face of enormous adversity.

She led her school through eight weeks of solid protesting and then a lengthy court battle from which the school emerged victorious last month.


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Ms Hewitt-Clarkson is one of the 10 people or groups we have selected as the Tes people of the year 2019, chosen for the impact or influence they have had on education over the past 12 months.

Tes editor Ann Mroz said: “It is this leadership, courage and grace under fire that has earned Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson the accolade of Tes person of the year for 2019.

“This is the third year in which the senior editors at Tes have selected the 10 people they believe have really made an impact in education, culminating in a vote for the overall winner.

“Hewitt-Clarkson was their unanimous choice. But the other nine nominees provided extremely tough competition. We congratulate them all on the huge impact they have had this year.”

Here are the other Tes people of the year 2019:

Abed Ahmed has been chosen for his work to prevent stammering from holding people back. The maths teacher was once told he could never work in the profession with a stammer. He has proved this wrong and now also assists groups at local schools with helping young people with stammers to be more confident.

John Sweller is the academic behind cognitive load theory, the idea that certain approaches can help teachers to avoid overloading a pupil’s working memory. His theory has influenced the new Early Career Framework, the initial teacher training core content framework and Ofsted’s new inspection framework this year.

Daryn Egan-Simon and Ed Finch developed the highly successful #BrewEd, a grassroots organisation of teacher-led CPD which takes place in the pub. Mr Finch, a primary school teacher in Oxford, and Mr Egan-Simon, an academic, researcher and writer, said they enjoyed learning about the profession but wanted to be able to do it in a more relaxed and informal setting.

Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner, has raised the profile and importance of her office by speaking out strongly on issues such as off-rolling, exclusions and the rise of children being home educated, and has vowed to use her role to hold government policy and the schools sector to account.

Samantha Twiselton, the highly respected teacher training leader, has dedicated much of her year to ensuring trainees and newly qualified teachers get the support needed to start and stay in the profession through the government’s recruitment and retention strategy and the new Early Career Framework.

Kim Kardashian West has become an unlikely but important advocate for apprenticeships. She announced in Vogue magazine that she was doing a four-year apprenticeship with a law firm in San Francisco because of a desire to improve the criminal justice system. “I wanted to fight to fix it, and if I knew more, I could do more,” she said.

Lauren Reid had a remarkable success story to tell this summer. The City College Plymouth student discovered that she had passed her maths GCSE on her ninth attempt after years of trying at schools and local sixth forms. She had previously considered giving up but she persevered – and went on to start a course at university this autumn.

Greta Thunberg, at the age of just 16, has become a worldwide star in creating a movement to change the way people think about climate change. In March this year, more than 1.4 million young people walked out of lessons to make their voices heard as part of the Fridays for Future movement.

Rebecca West is a young beauty therapist who took on the best in the world at WorldSkills Kazan – and came home with a gold medal. She is on our list representing the 37 young men and women from the UK who competed with distinction at the biennial skills competition. 

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John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

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