A dedicated teacher was overjoyed after winning a national prize which recognised her work to improve the achievements and aspirations of pupils.
Samantha Tumelty, head of business and Year 12 at St Wilfrid’s RC College, South Shields, was honoured with a Pearson Prize for Pupil Impact after taking part in a Teaching Leaders programme run by national education charity, Ambition School Leadership.
Ms Tumelty was one of three prize winners in the region, who scooped the award after completing the leadership development programme - dedicated to improving the life chances of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Another award winner from the region was Anna Pethybridge, from Biddick Academy, Washington.
The programme, which saw 22 teachers from across the North East and Cumbria take part, awards those who have shown outstanding commitment and have made the greatest impact on pupil achievement.
Ms Tumelty’s aim was to create a greater awareness of post-16 research and improve attainment and aspirations.
As a result of her investigation into the most effective interventions at Key Stage 5, the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers narrowed.
In addition, 99% of pupils gained an A* to E result - an improvement on last year’s 98%.
Over two thirds achieved A* to B grades.
She said: “I feel it gives a focal point to post-16 education as an area that needs to be actively researched now and in the future. “The Teaching Leaders programme gave me a network of people who I can call on, a community of like-minded people whose primary focus is on progress and attainment for all.
“I truly feel the programme has given me back my love of teaching and made me a well-rounded leader.”
Ambition School Leadership chief executive officer, James Toop, said: “Excellent middle leaders are the key to closing the achievement between disadvantaged pupils and their peers. “We need consistently excellent teaching and learning in every department of every school to change this.”