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Awards seek teachers with chemistry

By Liz Nicholls

An inspirational teacher set her on the path to scientific success – and now an astrophysicist from the University of Kent is supporting the teachers guiding today’s schoolchildren towards experimental excellence.

Cordelia Scott from the School of Physical Sciences Department of the University of Kent which is supporting the Kent Teacher of the Year Awards 2018.
Cordelia Scott from the School of Physical Sciences Department of the University of Kent which is supporting the Kent Teacher of the Year Awards 2018.

Cordelia Scott and her team at the University of Kent are backing the science category in the Kent Teacher of the Year Awards – and are hoping to raise the profile of the subject as a whole, especially for girls.

“Good teaching is the reason I went on to do a physics degree,” Cordelia said. “We need to get girls more interested in science. We’re trying, but it’s not working because as a society we think it’s a hard subject and a boys’ subject.”

She certainly disproves that myth, having gained an astrophysics degree from the university before starting work as an outreach officer in the School of Physical Sciences, working with schools to encourage pupils to continue with science after GCSE.

“Research has shown that you are likely to get a better job if you have a science degree,” Cordelia said.

Student loans are not normally available for second degrees, but last year the government made them available for people studying for a second degree part-time in a variety of science subjects.

And Cordelia might well have been one of them if Mr Adams, her teacher at Cator Park School for Girls in Beckenham, now the Harris’ Girls Academy, hadn’t spotted her astrophysical aptitude.

“I was going to do a Russian degree, but he convinced me to do this instead – and I really enjoyed it,” she said. “He taught me from Year 7 up to the end of A-levels, and he really enjoyed teaching. He was always looking for new ways of teaching things, and he was enthusiastic about it and wanted you to do well.”

The Kent Teacher of the Year Awards are open to anyone who does paid or unpaid work in a school in Kent, Bromley or Bexley – teachers, volunteers, governors and non-teaching staff.

The deadline for nominations is Thursday, March 1 – and you can nominate several people if you want to, or a whole team of people. The winners will be invited to a ceremony at the Mercure Great Danes Hotel in Maidstone in May.

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 make a nomination, visit www.kentteacheroftheyear.co.uk.

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