‘Inspirational’ Essex primary teacher wins national outstanding teacher award

An “inspirational” primary school teacher in Essex has received an outstanding teacher award.

Georgina Pennycook, from Heathcote Preparatory School and Nursery in Danbury, Essex has been honoured as a silver award winner for the Pearson National Teaching Awards.

Out of thousands of entries, Georgina was selected for the ‘Outstanding New Teacher of the Year’ category for her commitment to enriching children’s lives every day.

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Georgina initially joined the school as a teaching assistant in 2015 before beginning her teaching degree and studying in her spare time away from the classroom.

She is also a mental health first aider, which she qualified in to be able to help run school council sessions, hold special assemblies and most notably, to give students ‘check in’ sessions during remote learning in lockdown.

She has also lead the science curriculum across the school, organised enrichment days to inspire pupils and developed the curriculum to cover citizenship topics.

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The award means Georgina will now be shortlisted for the Gold Award later this year, which will be broadcast on the BBC.

“We are so proud that Georgie has been recognised for her contribution of excellence in education so early in her career,” says Samantha Scott, headteacher at Heathcote Preparatory School & Nursery.

“Heathcote staff go above and beyond for our pupils and families. As part of this community, Georgie ensures her pupils engage across the curriculum to ensure continued academic excellence.

“This year, we gained a 90 per cent pass rate for the 11+ selection exams alongside scholarships and awards for prestigious secondary schools. She is an incredible teacher and a hugely dynamic addition to the team.”

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The Silver Award winners have been honoured as part of wider celebrations for ‘Thank a Teacher Day’ to recognise school staff for their work after a challenging year of lockdown.

During the pandemic, many teachers have gone to extra lengths to help support students and families – from remote teaching to Covid-19 testing to making care visits to vulnerable families.

Sir Michael Morpurgo, celebrated author and former Children’s Laureate, and President of the Teaching Awards Trust, said: “Thank a Teacher Day gives us all a chance – children, families, all of us – to pay tribute to those wonderful educators who change more lives than they will ever know.

“Today we say thank you to the teachers who have helped our young people navigate these most difficult of times, and who will continue to inspire countless young minds over the coming years.”

Sharon Hague, Senior Vice President of Schools at Pearson UK, said: “After a year like no other we want to take today to say thank you to all the incredible school staff who have kept children and young people learning despite unprecedented challenges.

“We hope the celebrations today show how much you are appreciated, and that your hard work has not gone unnoticed nor unrecognised.”

Essex Live