The Chartered Teacher Status is an achievement and provides recognition for teachers who are motivated to complete this program. There are, undoubtedly, other teacher recognition programmes that do not receive much publicity outside of the individual schools.
Few of the programmes include teacher recommendations for teachers by headmasters/headmistresses, principals or other administrative personnel who are responsible for conducting evaluation for their teachers. These are the people who are required to carry out the evaluation of teachers and should have a say in who might be recognised by the awards programs. Therefore, many deserving teachers are left out of the process of recommendations due to a lack of programs and lack of administrative and governing board support.
Jocelyn Huber is director of teacher advocacy for Democrats in Education Reform and works in Tennessee, USA. Tennessee is a state that has adopted a program of rigorous evaluation of teachers and principals. The state teacher unions supported this evaluation program under the First to the Top Act legislated in the state. Huber pointed to the need for both a strong evaluation and recognition system:
- “Every outstanding educator deserves to be treated like a professional and rewarded
- for his or her hard work and excellence. A strong evaluation system allows school
- districts to identify, reward, and support strong teachers, aid those who are struggling,
- and replace those who are consistently letting our children down.”
Evaluation of teaching lays the foundation for improvement. As Huber pointed out, those who are doing outstanding work need to receive recognitions and be rewarded. Those in trouble can receive help up to the point where they need to be removed and replaced.
Some of the following recognitions and awards programs reach out and recognise a few teachers in the UK. Some of the larger programs do not appear to be anchored in teacher evaluation processes. Parents and students make most of the recommendations for teachers they feel are doing outstanding teaching. The awards are special to the teachers but there appears to be a lack of awards for the many teachers who should be so recognised.
Following are some of the recognitions and awards that were found in this writer’s research on what is available for UK teachers.
Pearson Teaching Awards
The largest UK awards program appears to come from the Pearson Teaching Awards. Students, parents and school officials may nominate outstanding teachers. The eleven Pearson awards go to some of the top teachers, teaching assistants, headteachers and teams. Prizes are trophies and certificates and a large bash in London where the top winners are announced on BCC 2.
The 2011 selected winner as the UK’s top teacher, Christine Emmett, is from St. Elizabeth’s Primary School, Eddlewood, Hamilton. There were over 22,000 nominations in 2011. The pupil nominating this teacher included the following in his nomination letter:
- She makes us believe we can do something even if we don’t think we can.
- He also said, Mrs. Emmett helps us during lunch breaks and after school
- if we are struggling and gives our parents advice on how to help us.
Ms. Emmett spoke on the BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland program and said: "Care, love, support – just be there for them and work hard. I always think that if I’m good they will be better. Just give them the confidence and get it over to them that some you win, some you lose. Just keep on going and don’t be downhearted. Just make school as fun-filled as possible for them.
The Pearson Awards people indicate in their promotional materials that, “Everyday at the Teaching Awards Trust, we see amazing teachers, headteachers and teaching assistants who help students to achieve exceptional results, both academically and socially, often against the odds.”
During the ceremony in London, each of the winners in the various categories are awarded with a gold Plato (Oscars for Teachers) which is described as the ultimate symbol of excellence in education. The 2011 UK and regional winners were invited to a reception hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron
Lord Puttnam was inspired to start the awards program back in 1997 after spending time in classrooms around the country. In addition to the UK Teacher of the Year, other awards include: (1) Award for Outstanding New Teacher of the Year; (2) Award for Headteacher of the Year; (3) Award for Special Needs Teacher of the Year; (4) Award for History Teacher of the Year; Award for Teaching Assistant of the Year; and Award for Science Teacher of the year and six other awards.
The National Academy for the Integration of Research & Teaching & Learning (NAIRTL) provides Excellent in Teaching Awards which are offered to help raise the profile of teaching and learning. Sylvia Draper of Trinity College’s School of Chemistry received their award in 2009. This included a crystal vase, a certificate endorsed by the Chairman of the Higher Education Authority of Dublin, Ireland and 5,000 pounds. The academy looks for exemplary teachers who also conduct innovate research in higher education in Ireland.
ISTA PharmaChemical Ireland Teacher Awards
There were four finalists for the ISTA PharmaChemical Ireland Teacher Awards in Dublin. The finalists had a role in the ‘Promoting Science Education’ symposium at the ISTA AGM meeting in the Tipperary Institute in Thurles.
Regie Routman Grant
The International Reading Association honors an outstanding elementary classroom teacher they find who is dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of reading and writing. There have to be at least 60% of the school's students eligible for a free or reduced lunch. The US$2,500 award is supported by a grant from Regie Routman and has presenters from the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Allianz Scoil Treasa Naofa Awards
Ireland has had an awards programme titled, Allianz Scoil Treasa Naofa Awards. The Dublin inner city school by that name made these awards the premier education awards on the Island of Ireland. They were to go to individuals or to groups of teachers for their outstanding work in working with disadvanged students. Over a two year period one award went to a teacher in both the North and South parts of the island.
It is difficult to find any updated materials on the internet search to know if this program has been continued beyond its first two years in 2003 and 2004.
Kings College London Rewards for Teaching
The Kings College in London presents a Teaching Excellent Award each year. Students are encouraged to vote for their favourite teacher and the winner gets selected by a panel that has been elected by the Medical Education Committee. There is also a Student Medical Education Committee that makes awards to teachers for excellence in their teaching. The awards are made at the SMEC’s annual awards dinner programme. These awards are voted on entirely by students.
Chartered Teaching Status
The Chartered Teaching Status programme is a voluntary program for teachers who look to renew their vigour and refresh their reason for becoming a teacher. It is available in England and Scotland and provides a £1,000 lump sum to those achieving Chartered London Teacher (CLT) status. The program provides for teachers to reflect upon their work as practitioners, seek awareness of their professional competence and evaluate their own development as a professional.
Teachers completing this programme have reported that their classroom management and communications were improved through the process. This program rewards teachers who wish to stay in the classroom rather than leave the classroom.Rewarding student effort with praise and giving more value to pupils’ opinions are some of the reported outcomes.
Institute of Physics Very Early Career Physics Communicator Award
The London based Institute of Physics showcased four candidates on their communication successes in physics before deciding on two of the finalists out of 26 applications they had received. The awards for the Very Early Career Physics Communicator Award were in their first year during November of 2011. One of the two winners, Rhys Phillips, stated:
- None of the finalists here today are doing these activities because they want
- the recognition – it’s the rewarding feeling you get when a child tells you that
- because of your talk they want to be a scientist. However, it is great to have t
- his voluntary work recognised by the Institute of Physics and I’m honoured
- to have jointly won the first of these awards.
The winners each received £250 and a certificate award for a future meeting of an IOP Physics Communicators Group event or meeting. These awards are now going to continue as the Physics Communications Group was pleased with the initial year success of their awards programme.
German Teacher Awards
Outstanding teachers of German language in the UK can win recognization of the German Teacher Award. The awards program in 2011 was the eighth annual program. Winners can receive 750 pounds as well as being presented with a certificate. Teachers who make an outstanding dedicated contribution to German teaching within their curriculums are considered. At the last event at the London’s German Embassy there were over 150 teachers and other representatives present. Three prizes were awarded the German Teacher Awards and one Lifetime Achievement Award was also presented.
Searching for UK for teacher evaluation outcomes that lead to teacher recognitions and awards program has led to only a few. There are not, however, many of these awards that are a result of headteacher, headmaster/headmistressl or supervisor providing input from teacher evaluation processes. Students and parents were found in the above recognition programmes to make most of the recommendations. In some program a ‘self-nomination’ process is utilised.
There appears to be a need for many more awards and recognitions programess in the UK for individual primary, middle and secondary schools. Recognition is such a basic human need and many schools do little to put their best teachers in a position to receive recognition for their exceptional teaching. This is similar to findings and recommendations this writer has made for USA and Australian educational institutions.
About the Author:
Hans A. Andrews is a former secondary school teacher and counselor and held instructional administrative roles in community colleges. He retired as college president at Olney Central College in Illinois and is now the Distinguished Fellow for Community College Leadership for Olney Central College. He is President of Matilda Press and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org . His most recent books are Accountable Teacher Evaluation and Awards and Recognition for Exceptional Teachers are available at www.matildapress.com.