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Aurora Eccles School Teacher Honoured in Prestigious UK Celebration of Teaching

Selected from thousands of nominations, Ian Sippitt from Aurora Eccles School has been honoured as one of 102 Pearson National Teaching Silver Award winners across the country. Ian Sippitt was honoured with a Silver Award in The Lockdown Hero Award for Learner and Community Support for their outstanding commitment to changing the lives of the children they work with every day. 

Ian’s aim is that young people with special educational needs can develop interests and aspirations through engaging with the natural world. In March 2020 Ian launched the YouTube channel Forest School Folk and the first video ‘mindfulness five countdown’, ensuring the physical and mental health of students with special needs did not deteriorate during Covid. It was intended to help Eccles’ students regulate in times of distress and upset. The video quickly received thousands of views on social media, as far away as the USA.

Ian Sippitt has now been shortlisted to win one of just 15 Gold Awards later in the year, in a programme which will be broadcast on the BBC. This is a great opportunity to celebrate the exceptional school staff who have worked wonders during an incredibly challenging time for educators across the country. 

Arabella Hardy, Principal at Aurora Eccles School said: “Our school community is delighted that Ian is being recognised through Pearson’s National Teaching Awards and will be receiving a silver award. Ian is not just one of our many lockdown heroes. He works tirelessly supporting our students to enable them to develop increased self-esteem and understand the world around them.”
“The whole school is looking forward to celebrating with Ian. We are planning a team based activity using bushcraft skills to light a campfire, followed by an all school celebration with woodland treats.”

The Silver Award winners are being honoured as part of the wider celebrations for ‘Thank a Teacher Day’, a national campaign to honour and recognise school staff for their incredible work. The celebrations follow new data which shows how the previous year’s lockdowns have significantly changed how families across the country view the role of teachers. 

New research from Parentkind and The Teaching Awards Trust highlights that three in four parents and carers have a newfound respect for the teaching profession following their experiences of remote learning during lockdown. 74.9% of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they had more respect for the work that teachers do following their family’s experiences of remote learning.

A parent from Eccles School said “Our daughter Amelia really struggles with the busy world we live in and had not been successful in mainstream schooling due to Autism and social anxiety. Mr Sippitt’s lessons bring out the best in her by encouraging and gently pushing her to succeed. It has taken years for her to voice her excitement about school. We are very grateful to Mr Sippitt for showing Amelia what she is capable of and more importantly Amelia is proud of herself.”

The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of excellence in education, 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 work with. This year marks its 22nd year of celebrating, award-winning teachers, teaching assistants, headteachers and lecturers across the UK 

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.”