Awards honour teaching's stars


Three secondary school professionals are among this year's Teaching Award winners. Lorraine Stobie, the headteacher of an all-age special school, teaching assistant David Bonnington, and new teacher Dr Elizabeth Bailey were honoured at the national finals

Three secondary school professionals are among this year’s Teaching Award winners. Lorraine Stobie, the headteacher of an all-age special school, teaching assistant David Bonnington, and new teacher Dr Elizabeth Bailey were honoured at the national finals in London earlier last month.

The Teaching Awards are now supported by Pearson and a total of eight Plato trophies were handed out at the ceremony, which was broadcast on the BBC.

Ms Stobie’s award provided the climax to the celebrations as she was named this year’s winner of the Ted Wragg Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Ms Stobie, 56, has enjoyed a 35-year career in her hometown of Ayr in Scotland and is currently the headteacher of Southcraig Campus, a special school catering for around 80 pupils aged two to 19.

Judges said that the award recognises Ms Stobie’s “renown as an expert in the education of children and young people with profound learning difficulties and complex physical conditions”.

Many of Southcraig’s pupils suffer from life-limiting conditions and Ms Stobie has helped produce a model guidance pack for bereaved families.

Elsewhere, David Bonnington, from Aylsham High School in Norwich, won the award for Teaching Assistant of the Year after he forged a new career working with vulnerable teenagers.

Originally from Sheffield and a store manager with the Cooperative Society, Mr Bonnington moved with his family to East Anglia more than 20 years ago. When he was made redundant by Aviva, Mr Bonnington moved into education and has now been at Aylsham High for six years.

At the school, Mr Bonnington has created the “Link Room”, a half-way house for students re-integrating into mainstream classes. Judges praised Mr Bonnington for his pastoral care and said that without his support, “many students would have dropped out, been excluded and would not have achieved”. 

The third secondary winner was Dr Elizabeth Bailey who took the award for Outstanding New Teacher of the Year.

Dr Bailey, a teacher of English from Clacton County High School in Essex, has foregone a career in higher education to teach in the comprehensive.

Dr Bailey came to Clacton County High from Essex University and after starting as a trainee teacher in 2010, became head of English in 2011.

The nomination for the award was made by 6th-form student Anna Page, after Dr Bailey helped her to win a place at Cambridge.

Anna, now a second year English undergraduate, wrote: “English literature is more than just a lesson for me, it’s a passion, and it’s thanks to my teacher Miss Bailey.”

Dr Bailey is also a year 8 form tutor and students described her to judges as “enthusiastic”, “funny”, “calm”, “the best ever”. 

One parent whose son has special needs said: “Our whole life is better as a result of having Miss Bailey as his tutor.”

Stage and screen actress, Anna Friel, is this year’s Teaching Awards ambassador and presented Lorraine Stobie with her award during the ceremony.

Ms Friel, whose parents are both teachers, said: “It’s easy to take your teachers for granted when you’re at school because you don’t always appreciate just what an important role they play in your life. 

“They help shape you as a person – your personality, what’s right and wrong, guiding you onto your career path, and also, when you need them to be, they are there to offer advice.”

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CAPTION: The Lifetime Achievement Award winner Lorraine Stobie with Teaching Awards ambassador Anna Friel (top), Teaching Assistant of the Year David Bonnington (middle) and New teacher of the Year Dr Elizabeth Bailey with children’s author Michael Morpurgo, who presented her award (bottom)


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