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Outstanding educators honoured at STEM Learning Teaching Awards

Published: Jun 20, 2022 5 min read


Teachers and technicians from across the UK were honoured for their outstanding skills and commitment to inspire young people at the STEM Learning Teaching Awards at their HQ in York.

The first in-person awards for more than two years were a fantastic celebration of STEM educators who have excelled in the classroom, labs and across STEM Learning’s various initiatives.

The awards, supported by the ENTHUSE Charitable Trust, were held at the National STEM Learning Centre in York - the home of STEM Learning’s residential CPD which was recently boosted by the announcement of a new partnership.

Talented and inspirational educators from across the UK mingled with STEM Learning colleagues plus partners from the education sector and employment to collect awards.

The winners were chosen following five regional ceremonies held last month in Manchester, London, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast.

The ceremony began with an introduction by Baroness Brown, Chair of STEM Learning’s Board, who said: “Everyone who attended works tirelessly to open young people’s eyes to the fantastic possibilities within STEM. This work has never been more vital, with the UK continuing to experience a serious STEM skills shortage.

“Teachers and teaching support staff are some of the most important individuals in society and in many students' lives, a life-changing, guiding force. Teaching staff pass on great values to children which prepare them for further education and for the world of work directly. Students are deeply affected by teachers' professionalism, knowledge, character, competence and moral commitment.

“These Awards reflect this incredible commitment and were a fantastic showcase of these hard work and achievements.”

CEO Yvonne Baker OBE acknowledged the “superhuman” efforts of teachers during the last two years, before welcoming the delighted award winners on to the stage.

Matthew Howells, STEM coordinator at Ysgol Y Graig Community Primary School, was one of five winners of the Excellence in STEM Teaching – Primary – which was kindly supported by the Primary Science Teaching Trust. He said: “It’s a massive honour to be recognised for all the hard work we put in developing STEM to provide as many opportunities as we can to young people. We have an amazing job - we can inspire and enthuse them and give them a goal to achieve in life.

“I strive to give our learners experiences that they enjoy and will stay with them for life. Taking children into the woods, or filling a classroom with a cloud of dry ice and seeing the smiles on their faces makes everything worthwhile.”

Arlene Smiton, Head of Science at City of Armagh High School, was one of the winners of the Excellence in STEM Teaching – Secondary category. She said: “I was flabbergasted to win this award, and it was so nice to celebrate in York with everyone.

“Science is the best thing ever! Turning lightbulbs on in childrens’ minds, making them love science and seeing science open up career pathways for them is why we do this job.”

The evening also recognised the huge impact made by ENTHUSE Partnerships – collaborations which link up a local group of schools and businesses to improve students’ engagement and attainment in STEM subjects. These partnerships also support teachers with high-quality CPD – and Kate Sutton from Hilderthorpe Primary School picked up their award.

She said: “The effect of being involved with STEM Learning and this ENTHUSE Partnership has been transformational, and the impact on children is beyond measure. We’ve had wonderful feedback about the clear difference this has made in engagement and attainment, and we’re going from strength to strength.”

Other awards included Outstanding Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion, which was kindly supported by bp, and Outstanding Engagement with STEM Community – STEM Learning’s free online platform for supporting educators which now has 18,000 members. There’s a full list of all the winners below – well done to all of the winners, and everyone who was highly commended at the regional awards.

Many of the winners posted their own fantastic photos from the night on social media – check out our channels @STEMLearningUK.


Excellence in STEM Teaching – Primary (supported by the Primary Science Teaching Trust)

James Swingler, Kibworth CE Primary School

Lloyd Walsh, St. Ignatius RC Primary School

Jacklyn Purdon, Ravenswood Primary School

Matthew Howells, Ysgol Y Graig Community Primary School

Anne McDaid from the St. Patrick’s Primary School


Excellence in STEM Teaching - Secondary

Rachel Major, Horbury Academy

Jude Nzemeke, Southend High School for Boys

Jodie Hendry, St Andrew’s RC Secondary School

Dr Daniel Jones, Monmouth School for Boys

Arlene Smiton, City of Armagh High School


Excellence in STEM Teaching – Post 16

Mhairi Mitchison, Blackpool Sixth Form College

Ram Ramanan, Shooters Hill Sixth Form College


Excellence in STEM support – Technicians & Support staff

Jim Byrne, Montgomery Academy in Blackpool

Jackie Merritt, Oxford Spires Academy

Edward Coulter, Belfast Boys Model School


STEM Community Engagement award

Matt King, Westcliff High School for Girls


Excellence in School & College Leadership in STEM

Ian Thompson, John Leggott College

Michelle Grant, The Bulmershe School

Sophie Poole, King’s Park Secondary School

Paula Vaughan, Pendoylan Primary School

Neil McAllister, Fairview Primary School


Outstanding Contribution to Diversity & Inclusion (supported by bp)

Rotna Roy, Sacred Heart High School

Jayne Mays, Fintry Primary School in Scotland


ENTHUSE Partnership of the Year

Hilderthorpe Primary School

The Bulmershe School

Jacobs Glasgow and West ENTHUSE Partnership

bp Dyce and Bucksburn ENTHUSE Partnership

St Columba’s Primary School