I won the award for Outstanding New Teacher of the Year in 2015. I was nominated by my Principal in my first 6 months of teaching. As a new teacher, I had thrown myself into the role of a teacher within my school, both as a teacher of science and as a form tutor. Before teaching, I had qualified and worked as a Paramedic for several years and had a passion for the sciences, but also for bringing the science alive to students using my experience and knowledge.
I believed that helping students to see the relevance of the topics that they studied was key to learning, engagement and to it also becoming a passion for them. I wanted to reflect this in my lessons, so that they were practical, made every student feel that they could achieve and fascinated them to learn more and to keep questioning. My role as a tutor was equally important to me and I made ensuring their welfare and happiness in school a priority; I would take real pride in seeing them achieve in lessons, watch them playing sports, helping them to overcome barriers and working with their families to make school a success for them and soon had the opportunity to do this on a wider scale as Head of Year 7. Throwing myself into all aspects of school life was what my job was all about for me and, ultimately, led to the amazing recognition not only for me but for all of our incredible students and staff from the amazing Pearson National Teaching Awards.
Since winning the award I have been bowled over by the support and impact that it has had on my career. I have continued to work at my first school and developed my passion for pastoral care. Shortly after winning the award, I became a Head of House – looking after one quarter of the school’s students in terms of both their wellbeing and academic successes. Most recently, I have joined the Senior Leadership Team as Safeguarding Lead for our school and will be completing my NPQSL shortly. Alongside this I started and completed my Masters degree in Learning and Teaching, which open opportunities to work with academics in education to conduct and publish research.
Winning the award also brought opportunities to share my experiences, and help and encourage other training and newly-qualified teachers into their career, through key-note speeches at University across the country. Most excitingly, I now also judge for the Pearson National Teaching Awards, getting to see and celebrate inspirational teachers across the United Kingdom.
Within our school, like many others, all of our staff work incredibly hard to help each individual achieve and have access to all of the opportunities that we can provide. Our House system provides a ‘family’ to students that allow us to build supportive relationships with each other and encourage and celebrate individual achievements. One of the students in my House who joined our school with little spoken or written English, as a refugee from Syria, was engaged in a poetry club to help her to express herself develop her talents. She wrote amazing pieces of heartfelt poetry with the support of our dedicated staff and this year was recognised as the winner of the Betjeman Poetry Prize! Not only this, but one of our new Year 7 students also joined her on the podium as runner-up in the competition!
Simon Bayliss, Oxford Spires Academy
Outstanding New Teacher of the Year, 2015.