At a time when challenges for schools serving disadvantaged communities are tougher than ever, we believe that it is crucially important to celebrate success and share expertise.
This spring, Ambition Institute participants from across the UK received national awards for their commitment to providing the best education possible to children across the country.
As we near the end of the academic year, we wanted to find out what reflections our educators had on winning the awards, and how it has benefited them so far.
Rowena Kidd, Deputy Headteacher, Stretford High School, Greater Manchester
Future Leaders participant Rowena was recognised for the drive she put into her professional development and the support she has shown to the wider network.
"I am so proud and humbled to receive this award as I know so many participants on the Ambition Institute programmes work hard to drive impact in their schools. However, for me, the award has helped me strive to continue my own professional development, especially around Careers and the Gatsby Benchmarks, the new curriculum framework, and refining data tracking and target setting systems, in an ever-changing educational landscape.
"As a school, we were delighted to receive the £500 from Pearson which we invested in revision maths guides for our students. On a wider level, the award recognises the impact my role and all the senior leadership staff have made over the past three years on driving school progress and significantly closing all the gaps so that our students are now achieving above the national average. This is something we are immensely proud of and it significantly improves the further educational prospects and life chances of our students."
David Russell, Maths teacher, Parkside School, Bradford, West Yorkshire
David was a participant on the Teaching Leaders Secondary programme and won the special Ann Brougham Award for his commitment to living to his values and having a positive impact in the work that he does every day.
"The award I received is being used within school to support our Year 11 learners during form time. We have bought a selection of 'Target Maths' books (thank you Pearson) to assist us with this work.
"Although it is too early to measure the full impact, during my last form time comments were made by the students on how this new arrangement suited them and how it gave them time to focus on the topics they found difficult, with a specialist at hand to offer further support.
"The award has definitely enabled me to branch out. Rather than focusing on Peer Tutoring for the lower years, we are now in a better position to offer support for the older years too."
Baseema Hughes, KS1 Phase Leader and Creative Development Lead, Robin Hood Academy, Birmingham
Baseema was a participant on Teaching Leaders Primary Mastery and was recognised for being a very special leader who is passionate, creative and someone who brings a positive attitude to any conversation.
"It was a real honour to achieve the award and very unexpected. The award was shared on our Twitter feed and that created a great deal of interest from the parents and staff. This has had a positive impact on me personally in terms of confidence and the opportunity to talk about the programme in more depth with colleagues. I use so many of the skills in my everyday practice from coaching and facilitating meetings to having difficult conversations with staff and with parents."
Tara Harris, Arts Lead, The Oaks Primary School, Birmingham
Tara was a participant on the Teaching Leaders Primary Mastery programme and was nominated by others on the programme for being innovative, dependable and never afraid of challenge.
"Thank you, Ambition Institute, for transforming my resolution to lead others, to make change possible. Change is only possible if you are part of a fantastic team. The staff and children at my school are brilliant and are so grateful for this award. My Year 5 class will soon be moving up to Year 6, and we have used the Pearson award of £500 to purchase the Quick 10-minute test booklets for Maths and English. This means that each child will be able to own a copy to use for their daily tests.
"On the award day, we had an amazing workshop led by Ambition Institute’s Jen Barker who spoke to us about memory. One of the strategies she spoke about was how quick tests can strengthen memory through regular exercise. She also spoke about how tests can move working memory into our long-term memory.
"We are positive that these regular tests provided by the award will improve our children's working memory which will, in turn, give the children the capacity to learn more and the confidence to strive to do their best."
It is amazing to see how much of a difference these awards have already made – both personally and professionally – to our participants.
We are incredibly proud of their achievements, and thrilled that our programmes have supported them to have an even greater impact on the schools and pupils they serve.