Willows High teacher wins prestigious UK award

Inspirational Willows High School teacher, Joseph Gill, has won the Silver Award in The Award for Outstanding New Teacher of the Year and is honoured as schools across the country celebrate Thank a Teacher Day to highlight families’ gratitude to school staff.

Selected from thousands of nominations, Joseph Gill has been honoured as one of 102 Pearson National Teaching Silver Award winners across the United Kingdom.

Joseph was honoured with a Silver Award in The Award for Outstanding New Teacher of the Year for their outstanding commitment to changing the lives of the children they work with every day. 

Joseph’s excellent work has enabled vulnerable pupils to continue learning despite the pandemic. He has also created and led an integration programme so that children with little or no English, many of whom having experienced trauma in their own countries, can be supported before entering mainstream education.

He brings learning to life, bringing in tools, construction equipment and gardening utensils in a bid to keep pupils engaged. He also uses his break and lunch times to encourage pupils to play sport, purposefully encouraging different ethnic backgrounds to interact and collaborate.

Joseph Gill has now been shortlisted to win one of just 15 Gold Awards later in the year, in a programme which will be broadcast on the BBC. This is a great opportunity to celebrate the exceptional school staff who have worked wonders during an incredibly challenging time for educators across the country. 

The Silver Award winners are being honoured as part of the wider celebrations for ‘Thank a Teacher Day’, a national campaign to honour and recognise school staff for their incredible work. The celebrations follow new data which shows how the previous year’s lockdowns have significantly changed how families across the country view the role of teachers. 

New research from Parentkind and The Teaching Awards Trust highlights that three in four parents and carers have a newfound respect hold for the teaching profession following their experiences of remote learning during lockdown. 74.9% of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they had more respect for the work that teachers do following their family’s experiences of remote learning.

The last year has seen a wealth of stories of teachers making care visits to vulnerable families, coming up with innovative ways of remote teaching, keeping their pupils settled by regularly checking in and even using their school sites for Covid-19 testing when classes did return to school. There has never been a better time to appreciate them and the vital work they do. 

The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of excellence in education, founded in 1998 by Lord Puttnam to recognise the life-changing impact an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of the young people they work with. This year marks its 22nd year of celebrating, award-winning teachers, teaching assistants, headteachers and lecturers across the UK 

Sir Michael Morpurgo, celebrated author and former Children’s Laureate, and President of the Teaching Awards Trust, said:

“Thank a Teacher Day gives us all a chance –  children, families, all of us – to pay tribute to those wonderful educators who change more lives than they will ever know. Today we say thank you to the teachers who have helped our young people navigate these most difficult of times, and who will continue to inspire countless young minds over the coming years.”

Michael Morpurgo is one of Britain’s best-loved writers for children. With a writing career that spans four decades, he has written over 100 books, selling more than 5 million copies in the UK and over 35 million worldwide. A former Children’s Laureate, Michael has won countless prizes, including the Smarties prize, the Blue Peter Book Award and the Whitbread Award, and was awarded an OBE for Services to Literature. Michael was also awarded an MBE in 1999, along with his wife Clare, in recognition of their work in founding Farms For City Children, a charity that has enabled 100,000 children to visit the charity’s three farms over the last 40 years. 

Sharon Hague, Senior Vice President of Schools at Pearson UK, said: 

“After a year like no other we want to take today to say thank you to all the incredible school staff who have kept children and young people learning despite unprecedented challenges. We hope the celebrations today show how much you are appreciated, and that your hard work has not gone unnoticed nor unrecognised.” 

The 2021 Pearson National Teaching Awards are open to every school across the UK. The awards were established by Lord Puttnam CBE in 1998 and are managed by the Teaching Awards Trust, an independent charity. The vision of the charity is to recognise and celebrate excellence in education. It does this through its public-facing ‘Thank A Teacher’ campaign www.thankateacher.co.uk, and through the Pearson National Teaching Awards www.teachingawards.com

The 2021 Pearson National Teaching Award Categories are: 

The Award for Excellence in Special Needs EducationThe Award for FE Lecturer of the Year, supported by DfE
The Award for FE Team of the Year, supported  by DfEThe Award for Headteacher of the Year in a Primary School, supported by Hays Education
The Award for Headteacher of the Year in a Secondary School, supported by Hays EducationThe Award for Digital Innovator of the Year, supported by Nord Anglia Education
The Award for Making a Difference – Secondary School of the Year  The Award for Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School, supported by Nord Anglia Education
The Award for Making a Difference – Primary School of the Year  The Award for Teacher of the Year in a Primary School, supported by Randstad
The Award for Lifetime Achievement supported  by DfE, supported by DfEThe Award for Teaching Assistant of the Year
The Award for Outstanding New Teacher of the Year, supported by DfEThe Award for Impact through Partnership
The Lockdown Hero Award for Learner and Community Support  

Congratulations Joseph, thank you for your outstanding contribution and good luck for the gold award! You’ve done us proud mun!