Two Walsall schools are celebrating after their head teachers won a prestigious Pearson Teaching Award. Paul Drew of Beacon Primary School in Willenhall and Nin Matharu of King’s Hill Primary School in Darlaston both won coveted Silver ‘Plato’ Awards.
Selected from thousands of nominations across the UK, Paul and Nin are two of just 65 winners in the Pearson Teaching Awards, 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.
Both of these exceptional head teachers attended a celebratory event at the House of Commons on Wednesday 4 July and in October will join their fellow Silver Award winners at the 20th UK ceremony of the Pearson Teaching Awards, a glittering ceremony held in central London. There they will find out whether they’ve won one of just 12 Gold Plato Awards, the UK’s ‘Oscars for Teachers’.
Neither Nin nor Paul had any idea that their colleagues and school governors had secretly nominated them for an award, so their surprised faces at special assemblies were entirely genuine.
Paul Drew said:
“I’ve had quite a few surprises during my teaching career, but I think this has to be the best yet.”
“It really was a huge honour to find out that my colleagues had put me forward for this award and I’d like to publicly thank them for their dedication, commitment and support.”
Paul took on Beacon Primary School as his first headship when it was graded as satisfactory with a lot of issues to be addressed. There was a lot of work to be done but he has transformed the school into a vibrant learning environment. Results have made the school one of the most improved in Walsall with exceptional progress scores.
Nin Matharu said:
“I knew something was going on when I spotted my son and daughter at the back of the assembly hall – I honestly don’t know how my colleagues managed to keep this a secret from me!”
“While I’m very touched to have been nominated for the award, and delighted to have won it, we’re very much a team here at King’s Hill and I’m privileged to work with such a fantastic team.”
In 2013, Ofsted had identified the key issues at King’s Hill as inadequacies with Leadership and Management as well as with Teaching and Learning. In September 2014, Nin Matharu was asked by Walsall Council to support the school on a part time basis and she was subsequently appointed interim Head in January 2015 and then substantive Head in January 2016.
The school’s journey of improvement started in earnest in January 2015, with the appointment of a new leadership team and new governing body and the start of a whole school re-organisation and in January this year Ofsted judged the school to be Outstanding in all areas.
Councillor Chris Towe, Portfolio Holder for Education and Skills at Walsall Council said:
“I’m so pleased and proud that the work of these inspirational leaders has been recognised and I’d like to wish them both good luck for the national awards in October.”
“To have one winner in Walsall is wonderful, but to have two is absolutely fantastic.”
Paul is pictured with Mayoress of Beacon Primary School, Connie Hayes and Deputy Mayor Bradley Firmstone.
Nin is pictured showing her surprise at receiving the award and also with her proud children Kiren and Arun, with photographs courtesy of AndyCheckettsConsultancy.