A school trip to Alton Towers without the kids? It sounds too good to be true. But this was the position that 11 teachers found themselves in for a very special event last Wednesday.
Okay, so their time was spent in a hotel conference centre, not strapped into Oblivion, and these were not just any teachers? they were the winners of the 2014 Let Teachers Shine awards.
Now in its third year, Let Teachers Shine, run by the Shine Trust, aims to celebrate teachers who are using imaginative and practical initiatives to raise attainment in literacy, numeracy and science among disadvantaged students. The competition was free to enter and open to any teacher working with students aged up to 18 in England .
Prizes of up to £15,000 have been awarded to winners to fund a year-long programme to demonstrate that their initiatives can achieve measurable results. Those initiatives that prove most successful will go on to receive continued funding from Shine and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to further develop the project.
This year’s winners include Catherine Calvey of Christ The King Catholic Primary School in Blackpool, who is extending literacy support to Gypsy Roma Traveller families to break down barriers and raise the attainment of children from these communities.
Another initiative, designed by Jake Daykin of Hooe Primary Academy in Plymouth, aims to improve mental arithmetic skills through a role-play game based on the Dungeons and Dragons genre.
And with a view to developing functional skills while helping students to gain valuable experience of the world of work, Heather Parsons from The Romsey School in Hampshire is leading a project to engage young people in the work of University Hospital Southampton.
“Once again, our Let Teachers Shine competition has proven to be a huge success and we’ve been able to award grants to some truly inspirational teachers,” said Paul Carbury, chief executive of Shine.
“The winning initiatives are creative, innovative and, most importantly, work directly with disadvantaged pupils – the very people who need it most. We’d like to thank our partners for supporting this competition and very much look forward to seeing how these projects grow and develop in the future.”
TES Professional will also be following the progress of the winners and their projects over the coming year.