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Top teachers? Tell me about IT

From pupils tapping on tablets in the classroom to parents emailing to say their little ones will be off sick, computers have become an integral part of school life.

Richard Langshaw, owner of computer recycling firm LoopCR, which is backing the Kent Teacher of the Year Awards 2018.
Richard Langshaw, owner of computer recycling firm LoopCR, which is backing the Kent Teacher of the Year Awards 2018.

Which is why businessman and computer whizz Richard Langshaw wants people to nominate their IT teachers and technicians in the Kent Teacher of the Year Awards – because without them, school’s out.

“It’s quite amazing how much IT is used in schools,” said Mr Langshaw, who owns computer recycling firm LoopCR, based in Sutton Valence. “All the homework is online – they don’t take a book home – and parents send in sick notes electronically.

“And without its IT support staff, the school would actually cease to function, because so much of what is done needs them to keep it running. A lot of schools don’t have an on-site IT person - one of the teachers will be doing the job when and if they can.

“I don’t think I could do the job that teachers do. We do a lot of work with schools and supporting the awards is a way of giving something back to the schools for the work they have given us.”

One of his passions is getting girls more involved in IT and overcoming, as he puts it, “the stereotype of a guy sitting at a keyboard ignoring everyone around him.”

“IT support is one of the things in which girls are particularly under-represented,” Mr Langshaw said. “There was an American study that showed that women are better than men at the analytical stage. Girls have a kind of logic that makes computer programs work for everyone rather than just the person who has written them.”

At school in Leicestershire, it wasn’t Mr Langshaw’s IT teacher who inspired him but his French teacher Mr Folds and his attitude to life.

“He came from a French-speaking part of Canada, and he decided he wanted to learn English,” Mr Langshaw recalled. “So he got on the first plane, came here, went into a school and said ‘I’ve come to teach French.’

“He wanted to solve a problem and he went a bit more radical on it. I’m still useless at French - but if I want to do something, I just jump at it.”

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 together. 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 nominations will be assessed by a panel of judges including Kent County Council, the University of Kent, Kent Sport, Canterbury Christ Church University, the University of Greenwich, Kent Further Education, Three R’s Teacher Recruitment, MY Trust, Social Enterprise Kent, Beanstalk, the Mercure Great Danes Hotel, CXK, Salus, LoopCR, Kreston Reeves, and Diggerland.

For more information, or to make a nomination, visit www.kentteacheroftheyear.co.uk.

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