Heathcote School’s Georgina Pennycook has been shortlisted as ‘Outstanding New Teacher of the Year’ in the 2021 Pearson National Teaching Awards. Please find our official statement below:
A teacher at Heathcote Preparatory School & Nursery of Danbury, Essex, has been honoured as a Silver Award winner in the Pearson National Teaching Awards. Selected from thousands of entries, Heathcote’s Georgina Pennycook has won the award in the ‘Outstanding New Teacher of the Year’ category, reflecting her outstanding commitment to enriching the lives of the children she works with every day. This recognition means Georgie is now on a prestigious shortlist to win the Gold Award in the category later this year, in a programme that will be broadcast by the BBC.
Georgie initially joined Heathcote School as a Teaching Assistant in 2015 before embarking on her teaching degree, studying in her spare time while continuing to dedicate herself full time in the classroom.
She subsequently gained a Mental Health First Aider qualification in order to implement mental health support by running school council sessions, holding special assemblies, and enabling pupil ‘check in’ sessions in periods of remote learning during lockdown. Unusually for a newly-qualified teacher, she also leads the Science curriculum across the school, organises school Enrichment Days to inspire pupils to engage in STEM subjects, and has evolved the school’s curriculum to incorporate citizenship topics.
Georgie has a passion for educating children about global issues; she actively promotes her belief that children are the generation of the future with the ability to make a change.
We are so proud that Georgie has been recognised for her contribution of excellence in education so early in her career. Heathcote staff go above and beyond for our pupils and families. As part of this community, Georgie ensures her pupils engage across the curriculum to ensure continued academic excellence. This year, we gained a 90 per cent pass rate for the 11+ selection exams alongside scholarships and awards for prestigious secondary schools. She is an incredible teacher and a hugely dynamic addition to the team.” – Samantha Scott, Headteacher at Heathcote Preparatory School & Nursery.
Celebrating ‘Thank A Teacher Day’
The Silver Award winners are being honoured as part of 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
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.” – Sir Michael Morpurgo, celebrated author and former Children’s Laureate, and President of the Teaching Awards Trust
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.” – Sharon Hague, Senior Vice President of Schools at Pearson UK