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Kent Teacher of the Year Awards 2019

By Liz Nicholls

The top fifty educators, support staff and volunteers in further education and schools were revealed on Friday night (May 10) at the Kent Teacher of the Year Awards.

Overall county champions with supporters at the Kent Teacher of the Year Awards at Ashford International Hotel.
Overall county champions with supporters at the Kent Teacher of the Year Awards at Ashford International Hotel.

The glittering awards dinner was staged by educational charity the KM Charity Team with support from Independent Music Productions at the Ashford International Hotel to honour district winners for each local authority area. Twenty-two winners received the additional accolade of being named best in the whole of Kent.

Sharing hosting duties were Simon Dolby, CEO of the KM Charity Team, and Nicola Everett, head of multimedia news at the KM Group, television presenter for KMTV and newsreader at kmfm radio.

Guest speakers included the charity’s honorary patron and star of CBeebies’ Mister Maker, Phil Gallagher, as well as double Olympic champion Jack Green, and Steven Holdcroft, head of recruitment and admissions for the event’s key partner the University of Kent.

Phil said he was proud to celebrate the county’s best teachers. “As a former Kent schoolboy, I loved my schooling in Rainham and Gillingham,” he said. “My mum was a teacher as well so I know first-hand how hard teachers work.”

Jack added: “It was fantastic to see so many top teachers here who have obviously made a big difference to the pupils in their schools.”

The event included an appearance from East Kent Schools Together’s partnership choir ‘The Big Sing’ who performed three songs while dinner was served.

A staggering 1,100 nominations were submitted by students, parents, and school staff praising colleagues for categories including primary, secondary, further education, and newly-qualified teacher as well as team and volunteer awards.

Phil Reynolds from Kreston Reeves was on the panel of judging organisations tasked with selecting the winners. “The amount of nominations we get grows every year and they just improve year-on-year,” he said. “Teachers and their support staff do such a wonderful job in the sector.”

Among those clinching an overall prize was head teacher Pete Talbot of Castle Hill Community Primary School in Folkestone, who along with his colleagues won the Kent Senior Leadership Team of the Year Award. He said the award “represents a huge journey that the school’s been on from a struggling school with no name to a fantastic, large and thriving school.”

Pete Talbot, Sarah Merritt and Sue Parsons from Castle Hill Community Primary School collect the overall Kent Senior Leadership Team of the Year Award. Presented by James Robert from The Education People and Phil Gallagher, presenter of CBeebies Mister Maker and patron of the KM Charity Team.
Pete Talbot, Sarah Merritt and Sue Parsons from Castle Hill Community Primary School collect the overall Kent Senior Leadership Team of the Year Award. Presented by James Robert from The Education People and Phil Gallagher, presenter of CBeebies Mister Maker and patron of the KM Charity Team.

Matthew Tragheim, from Wayfield Primary School in Chatham, was crowned Kent ICT Champion of the Year for the use of technology to improve learning. “Every child has an iPad and we use Flip learning to raise their aspirations and also their progress across the school,” he explained.

And Thomas Nyaku of Dartford Science and Technology College was named Kent Maths Teacher of the Year. He described the win as “a very exciting moment for myself and the school. Obviously I’ve come a long way and this has been by the support of my department and the leadership of the school.”

Other countywide champions included Michelle Fleming, chair of the PTA for Borough Green Primary in Sevenoaks, and recipient of the Kent Schools Volunteer of the Year Award; Sally Creavin from the Sheerness West Foundation who was awarded Kent Wellbeing Champion of the Year; and Anthony Stockwell from Tonbridge-based Hadlow College who won the Kent Apprenticeship Assessor of the Year Award.

The annual event aims to spread best practice and to this end a booklet featuring the judges’ comments on each winner has been distributed to all of Kent and Medway’s schools and colleges.

The judging panel, who also presented the awards on the night, included representatives from Medway Youth Trust, the University of Greenwich, Social Enterprise Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University, Loop CR, Diggerland, Kent Further Education, Kape HR, KCS, Towergate Insurance, The Education People, Kent Sport, Kent County Council, Medway Council, Salus, Blessing by Blé, and Three R’s Teacher Recruitment.

Simone Miles from Medway Youth Trust said she supported the awards “to recognise the hard work that all of our staff and volunteers do within the education system to ensure that young people have a really good start in life.”

Dr Zita Stone from the University of Kent added that fantastic teaching at primary and secondary school is “absolutely key” for helping students to be successful at higher education level.

Organisations interested in supporting the 2020 awards should contact Simon Dolby at sdolby@thekmgroup.co.uk or call 0844 264 0291.

View the full list of winners and gallery of photographs at www.KentTeacherOfTheYear.co.uk

The KM Charity Team provides a range of green travel and literacy services for schools. Find out more at www.KmWalkToSchool.co.uk or www.BustersBookClub.co.uk

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