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National teaching award for Smethwick teacher

Published 28th June 2018

Beth Barnsley

Smethwick assistant headteacher Bethany Barnsley has clinched a top award for her teaching – at the very school she went to as a child.

Bethany, who works at Devonshire Infant and Junior Academies, picked up a silver award in the 2018 Pearson Teaching Awards.

Selected from thousands of nominations, Bethany is one of just 65 winners who were celebrated on Friday 22 June – “Thank A Teacher Day”.

Bethany, who is also the school’s SENCO, attended the school as a pupil and she has worked at Devonshire Academies since qualifying as a teacher.

She was presented with her prestigious Silver Pearson Teaching Awards trophy at a special ceremony by Sharron Philpot, Executive Headteacher and Robert Craig, representing Pearson.

The Pearson Teaching Awards are 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 teach.

Bethany, who has worked at the school for ten years, said she felt lucky to work with her colleagues and pupils at Devonshire.

“I feel extremely honoured and privileged to have received a Silver Award for Excellence in Special Educational Needs Education,” she added.

“I am very lucky to work with such incredible children at Devonshire Academies. The award is a testament to the fantastic teams that work so hard and continually strive for the best for our young people.”

Sharron Philpot, Executive Headteacher at Devonshire Infant and Junior Academies, which is part of Victoria Academies Trust said: “This is such a well-deserved award.

“Bethany is a true inspiration to all who work with her. The impact she makes on the lives of children in our schools, and more widely within the trust is incredible. It is a proud moment for everyone who knows her.”

Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for children’s services Councillor Simon Hackett said: “I’d like to congratulate Bethany on this fantastic achievement. It’s heart-warming to think she went to this school as a child herself and now she’s delivering a fantastic education to her own pupils.”

Bethany will now join fellow Silver Award winners, along with three Scottish Education Award winners and three winners of the Professional Teaching Awards Cymru, at the 20th UK Ceremony of the Pearson Teaching Awards held in central London on 21 October. 

There they will find out which of them has won one of just 12 Gold Plato Awards, the UK’s “Oscars for teachers”.

The October ceremony, titled “Britain’s Classroom Heroes”, will be filmed and broadcast by the BBC as a showcase of excellence in education.