Goodwin Academy’s Kirsty Gaythwaite takes silver at Pearson National Teaching Awards
Assistant Head of Maths at Goodwin Academy, Kirsty Gaythwaite, was selected from thousands of nominations, and is one of just 76 Silver Award winners across the country. Kirsty 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.
Initially joining the school as a learning support assistant to help vulnerable pupils, Kirsty was quickly identified as having a talent for teaching mathematics. She continued to work at the school while studying in evenings and weekends for her diploma in education, and since qualifying as a teacher has continued to put in immense amounts of work to ensure her students succeed.
After receiving the nomination earlier this year Kirsty couldn’t hide her surprise when a meeting with Goodwin Academy’s Principal Simon Smith, ended in her receiving the Silver Award as the socially-distanced ceremony was live streamed to her colleagues and students form the school theatre.
The Goodwin Academy team worked hard to pull together the surprise Awards Ceremony, followed by a secret tea party, to celebrate the award-winning teacher. Kirsty’s parents, Sonya, Maurice and daughter Grace were also there, as an additional surprise.
Kirsty’s mum, Sonya recalled; “I remember Kirsty wanting to be a midwife when she grew up, but maths teacher was never mentioned.” Kirsty added; “I’ve always loved maths though, I got my GCSE in Yr10 rather than Yr11. But I never expected this.”
Talking about her Award, Kirsty said:
“I am just so shocked, so happy and… I’m proud. I don’t often say that about myself but I am. It’s been a tough journey. I love teaching though, it really is my passion. I sleep, eat and dream teaching.”
Grace, 11-years old beamed: “I’m so proud of mum, she loves being a teacher and she’s so good at it!”
As Kirsty and her family tucked into the celebratory afternoon tea, the busy maths teacher could be heard exclaiming, “This all looks so delicious, I forgot to get dinner out the freezer, we won’t need it now, thankfully!”
Kirsty is now in the running for one of just 14 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.
Simon Smith, Principal said;
“I am absolutely delighted for Kirsty, this is an amazing achievement, one that is thoroughly deserved. Kirsty is such an inspiring teacher who works so hard to make a difference and to transform the life chances of every student she teaches.”
Rachel Moon, Assistant Principal added, “I’m so pleased the celebration went well, it was great to see how chuffed Kirsty was. I think she was suspicious, as she knew awards winners were announced today, but she had no idea that we had her family here to celebrate with her, and that was a touching moment, one I really wanted her to have because I know how proud she is of her daughter.”
The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of exceptional teachers, 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 England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Rod Bristow, President of Pearson UK, said:
“Congratulations to all of our Silver Award winners for their commitment, dedication and passion for their work. Despite the incredible challenges they have faced over the past few months, school staff have risen to the occasion time and again.
“It is so important to recognise and celebrate teachers, teaching assistants and lecturers for the impact they have on our young people every year, and that is why Pearson is delighted to support these Awards.”
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“My warmest congratulations go to all this year’s silver award winners. They should be proud to receive this recognition of their commitment to the profession, and the outstanding education and guidance they provide for their students.
“Teachers and school staff up and down the country consistently go above and beyond for their students, and this is especially true over the past few months. It is down to their hard work that schools have been able to open their gates to all pupils again for the start of the new term, and I cannot say thank you enough for everything they have done.”