Teachers are Heroes

Regular readers will know that I often feature the “Let Teachers Shine” competition – run by the Shine Trust (https://www.shinetrust.org.uk/) and proudly supported by Capita SIMS (www.capita-sims.co.uk/shine-13) – and it’s that time of year again for all the teachers doing a fantastic job, to get the ideas in.For the past few year, I’ve been amazed by the quality of the ideas – and had the opportunity to discuss the projects with the winners. We’ve had everything from robotics, to music to mathematics. All these projects have had one thing in common – at their heart, they have been lightbulb moments by inspirational teachers – designed to unlock and empower learners.

Looking back…

Previous years have featured winners such as Gavin Summerfield (2015)- who returned to both the SIMS Annual Conference (2016) and BETT in 2016 and 2017 to show demonstrate with some able assistants from his school – how far the funding has taken his idea. The idea – use Nao Robotics to improve storytelling while also teaching children to code. Many of you may have seen Assimo – on programmes such as BBC2 QI…well, the project uses similar technology, just smaller.

You can read more about his story here:http://www.capita-sims.co.uk/resources/blog/inspiring-children-be-creative-technology

One of the winners in 2016 was Hannah Gosling. Again, her project involved robotics – but in a different way. This time, it was time to get musical! And not only musical – her project brings together technology and music to engage children in maths. Now, this is something I can get on board with very quickly – as maths was never my strong suit! Whether it’s learning the times table (and how many of us as adults just reach for the calculator) or solving algebra equations (and many will groan at remembering that) – Hannah wanted to give children with low engagement and attainment a helping hand by bringing programmable robots into the classroom.

The project brought together a number of different bits of technology – Quirkbot robots; the latest particular brand of programable circuit boards – BBC Micro:Bits and Makey Makey boards. These combine offering the children the ability to code robots in a number of different ways.

“…the project has rapidly developed over the last 12 months and it and has helped me to kick-start a total of 11 pilot sessions which have had an incredible impact on children’s engagement and learning in maths…”

Hannah explained that her plan is to create a ‘box of the technology’ used and enable other schools in our area to hire and plan out the 11 sessions by the end of the year. This truly supports the idea of school collaboration. The long-term vision is to have the project written as a series of lessons that can be delivered in the classroom and published online, so teachers can easily download them.

You can read more about Hannah’s story here: http://www.capita-sims.co.uk/resources/blog/combining-music-and-technology-empower-learning

Other previous winners have included Colin Hegarty who received £15,000 to help set up his HegartyMaths website. In five short years, the website has reached a staggering 50 per cent of all secondary schools. Last year, Colin was a finalist in the Global Teacher Prize. In 2014, Amanda Poole was awarded £12,000 for her Space Camp project in which children participate in a range of inspirational space science learning activities.

Looking forwards…
So, could you have the next big idea; and just need funding and support to get it off the ground? Why not enter – and join this amazing community. Teachers entering the Let Teachers SHINE competition must demonstrate that their idea will help disadvantaged children and young people by raising attainment in English, maths or science.

When asked about winning last year’s grant, Hannah said: “hanks to the funding from the Let Teachers SHINE competition […] I am now well on my way to realising my dream to have the project written as a series of lessons that can be delivered in the classroom and published online to help children around the country”.

Phil Neal, a director at Capita SIMS, says: “We continue to be amazed by the exceptionally high standard of entries for the Let Teachers SHINE competition. Hearing the many inspirational stories behind every project makes selecting the winners an agonising decision. I encourage anyone with an idea of raising the attainment of disadvantaged children and young people to enter. You really can make a difference. Good luck!”

Clare Gilhooly, CEO of SHINE, adds: “We believe every child has potential whatever their starting point in life and we are passionate about the role teachers can play in fulfilling this potential. With the support of Capita SIMS, the Let Teachers SHINE competition will enable us to provide many more opportunities for children and young people to flourish at school.”

Want to enter – you can find out much more about the competition, including how to enter here https://www.shinetrust.org.uk/news/let-teachers-shine-2017/; and also read about the rest of the success stories from all the other many winners over the years on their blog/news pages here https://www.shinetrust.org.uk/news/.

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