Just one brilliant idea…


This year has flown and it’s hard to believe that 12 months have passed since the last Let Teachers SHINE competition.  Once again, the judges worked their way through hundreds of applications and with some tough decisions made, they formed a shortlist of some of England’s most innovative teachers.


There’s a saying ‘Just one brilliant idea can change the world’ and nowhere is this more relevant than in the classroom. Children truly benefit from the teacher who stands in front of them with an outstanding idea. The Let Teachers Shine competition brings these fabulous ideas to life and changes the lives of some of our most disadvantaged young people in doing so.

We’re proud to have seen winners from previous years develop their projects and some have now been rolled out on a much larger scale. Since winning a Let Teachers SHINE grant in 2012, Colin Hegarty of HegartyMaths has reached the finals of the Virgin Business Pitch to Rich competition and also entered the Top 50 of the Global Teacher Prize – as well as helping 5,000 students get to grips with maths every day.

Colin, together with some of the previous winners, took to our stand at Bett earlier this year to present their ideas and share them with their peers. Now in our fourth year of working with SHINE, we can see the massive impact these projects are making on children’s performance in the classroom.

Winning ideas

The exciting part for us is, as part of the judging process for the competition, we get to hear about the fantastic ideas the teachers have. Every year it gets tougher to choose the ten winners and with 147 entries in total, this year was no different. 

There are so many dedicated teachers with great ideas to help their students. The grants awarded for the projects to help support pupils in English, maths and science reached a combined total of £97,253.

Among this year’s winners is Rachel Wilkinson, of Nunthorpe Academy in Cleveland, who has won a grant of £10,000 to help children with SEN write and publish the story of their life. The books will encourage children to take a keener interest in writing and will be available to buy in local bookstores and online for other children to read.

Elizabeth Hope who teaches science for the Children’s Hospital School in Leicester, has also been awarded a grant of £10,000 for her fantastic project ‘Science by the Bedside’ which brings live science experiments directly to the bedside of sick children in hospital. 

Sarah Shergill also won a grant of £3,280 for her ‘Making Maths Heroes’ programme, which uses innovative maths teaching to help encourage pupils with a fear of making mistakes in maths to be more courageous risk-takers, enabling them to achieve more.


This year’s winners and their projects are:

  • Peter Scutt (Isambard Community School, Swindon) Creative and Memorable Science
  • Naomi   Bedworth (St Mary's College, Hull) Literary Legacy Makers
  • Fiona Button (Clement James Centre, London) Button Spelling
  • Simon Cox (St Mary's Catholic Academy, Blackpool) Steps to Success
  • Amy Hanna (Ark Academy, Wembley, London) Miss Hanna Loves Grammar
  • Elizabeth Hope (Hospital School, Leicester) Science at the bedside
  • Andrew Otty (Exeter College, Exeter) Write On!
  • Sarah Shergill (Brackenbury Primary School, Brighton) Making Maths Heroes
  • Rachel   Wilkinson (Nunthorpe Academy, Middlesbrough) Our Story
  • Martin Bennett and Nola Woods (Woodlands Meed School, Burgess Hill) English Reading and Writing Assessment

The winners were presented with their cheques at the SIMS Annual Conference 2017 in Leicester on 20 June. The prize money will be used to fund a year-long pilot programme for each project to demonstrate that the initiative can achieve measureable improvements in schools across England and will make a positive impact on the lives of school children.

The Let Teachers Shine competition continues to unearth a host of amazing teachers and their truly brilliant ideas, which are helping every child to have the same opportunities whatever their circumstances.

We would like to thank the Let Teachers Shine winners for taking part in the workshop and we will follow their journeys with interest to see how children respond to their ideas.



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