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Inspirational Hockerill Anglo-European College teacher Michelle Butler short-listed for national Secondary School Teacher of the Year title in UK celebration of teaching



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An English teacher at Hockerill Anglo European College in Bishop's Stortford has been short-listed for a national teacher of the year title.

Michelle Butler is one of 80 Silver Award winners across the UK in the Pearson National Teaching Awards. She has been honoured in the ‘Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School’ category for her "outstanding commitment to changing the lives of the children she works with every day".

She is one of seven in her category short-listed for a Gold Award later in the year, two of whom work in Bishop's Stortford schools – the other is Herts and Essex High School head of drama Caitlin Hayward.

Hockerill Anglo European College English teacher Michelle Butler with principal David Woods, left, and Sam Sutton-Reid from Pearson at Thursday's surprise lunchtime award ceremony. Pic: Vikki Lince (56941461)
Hockerill Anglo European College English teacher Michelle Butler with principal David Woods, left, and Sam Sutton-Reid from Pearson at Thursday's surprise lunchtime award ceremony. Pic: Vikki Lince (56941461)

Michelle was recognised in a lunchtime ceremony at the Dunmow Road state school on Thursday (May 26) on national 'Thank a Teacher Day', which brings together people to celebrate the schools and colleges at the heart of their communities.

The ceremony involved principal David Woods, chair of governors John Stenhouse, English teacher Amanda Piperaki and students Maddy Wilson (Year 11) and Leo Suo-Saunders (Year 9), who were involved in the nomination process. Invited guests included MP Julie Marson and Sam Sutton-Reid from Pearsons.

Michelle's approach to conceptual and project-based learning has revolutionised how English is taught at Hockerill, which follows the International Baccalaureate (IB) middle years and diploma programmes.

Her students describe her as a "kind, creative and inspirational teacher with an international perspective and a fantastic sense of humour".

Her vision for teaching has become standard practice in her department, and her energising professional development training has encouraged this approach to become embedded across the school.

Her leadership skills, coupled with her passion for teaching, make her an influential colleague devoted to making English not only accessible for all students, but their favourite subject.

As a Silver Award winner, Michelle is short-listed to win one of 16 individual and team Gold Awards later in the year in a programme to be broadcast on the BBC's The One Show as part of a week-long celebration of teaching which will see famous faces honour award winners every night in the run-up to the ceremony.

Michelle Butler with her Pearson National Teaching Awards Silver Award. Pic: Vikki Lince (56941460)
Michelle Butler with her Pearson National Teaching Awards Silver Award. Pic: Vikki Lince (56941460)

An unnamed colleague said: "Knowing and working with Michelle has been inspirational. Her enthusiasm, passion and creativity are highly engaging and extend far beyond her chosen subject.

"I've always found that Michelle values feedback and discussion and is always supportive and encouraging to me as a colleague. This mix has helped me to develop my own skills through copying good practice and, importantly, taking risks to be creative in my own way.

"Whenever I work with Michelle, I always have the feeling that I’m going to learn something new."

A student said: "Miss Butler is a great teacher and we all know how hard she works for us. She'll always help with any problems as a form tutor and helps to make our lessons as fun as possible.

"She is so inspirational and has so much on her plate yet still has time to check on students and make sure they're working as best as they can."

Another said: “I love the English classes she creates; she's very good at making them fun yet educational. I feel like I learn lots thanks to all her hard work.

"She has also organised a 'readathon' to help sick children in hospital who don't have books. She is very kind and compassionate.”

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.

Author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo, president of the Teaching Awards Trust, which manages the Pearson awards, said: “For so many of us, it was someone at school who changed our lives, was at our side through hard and difficult times, who lifted us up when we were down, helped us find our voice, gave us confidence when we needed it most and set us on a path that we have followed ever since.

“No matter who we are, school has touched our lives and played a central role in our childhoods. School is about so much more than learning, and we see that now more than ever before. Schools really are the beating heart of our communities. Every person that cares for our children in schools should be celebrated loud and clear on Thank A Teacher Day 2022.”



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