Published: 00:00, 05 February 2018
| Updated: 11:23, 05 February 2018
School isn’t just about learning to read and write, but to be a well-rounded person. Which is why the Kent Teacher of the Year Awards have dozens of different categories – because so many people within schools have a lasting influence on our children.
And each of the judges has a category that’s particularly close to their heart.
For Cordelia Scott, from the University of Kent, it was a science teacher who changed the course of her life, determining first her degree subject and then her career.
“Good teaching is the reason I did an astrophysics degree. I was going to do a Russian degree, but my teacher, Mr Adams, convinced me to do physics instead,” she explained.
“And I really enjoyed it.” So much so, in fact, that she now works as an outreach officer for the university, encouraging teenagers to carry on with science after GCSE.
Clare Maclean-Bell, from Kent Sport, which promotes physical activity in the county, is backing the sport category – comprising coaches and volunteers as well as PE teachers.
“Sport is a common ground – something that brings children together,” she said.
“Every child is different, and it’s about finding the genius in each of those children.”
One charity which knows about unlocking children’s potential is Beanstalk, whose volunteers come into schools to help struggling readers.
But south east area manager Malou Bengtsson-Wheeler says she wants to champion everyone who gives up their free time to help children learn.
"There are so many volunteers out there - fantastic PTAs, people who offer support with gardening, all sorts,” she said.
Michael Green, from the University of Greenwich, said he was delighted to be supporting a brand new category for the awards: the Trainee Teacher of the Year.
He added: “We feel that our trainees every year go into our schools and make a fantastic contribution – and it’s only right that they get the recognition they deserve.”
Award categories include primary, secondary, newly qualified teacher, and non-teaching member of staff such as lunchtime supervisor and caretaker.
The volunteer award is for anyone donating their time in school, whether they man a stall at a school fete, perform repairs and maintenance, or sit on the board of governors.
There is less than a month left for members of the public and schools to make their nominations - the deadline is Thursday, March 1.
The winners from each borough will be invited to a ceremony at the Mercure Great Danes Hotel in Maidstone in May, and will also feature in their local KM Group newspaper and on Kent Online.
The awards are organised by the KM Charity Team and supported and judged by Kent County Council, the University of Kent, Kent Sport, Canterbury Christ Church University, the University of Greenwich, Three R’s Teacher Recruitment, MY Trust, Social Enterprise Kent, Beanstalk, the Mercure Great Danes Hotel, CXK, Salus, LoopCR, Kreston Reeves, Kent Further Education, and Diggerland.
For more information or to nominate someone, visit www.kentteacheroftheyear.co.uk.
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