Lockdown Heroes Awards – winners announced!

lockdown heroes award image

A lecturer who converted his garage at home into a virtual classroom and a Careers Guidance Practitioner, whose work helped to secure apprenticeships & further education courses for an entire year group affected by the pandemic are among those recognised in Greater Manchester Higher’s Lockdown Heroes Awards!

The awards were set up to highlight the efforts of teaching and support staff who have gone the extra mile during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thank you to everyone for their nominations, we are thrilled to announce our winners!

Careers Lead/Practitioner – co-sponsored by Bridge GM

Adam Farrand from Oasis Academy, Oldham.

Adam, who has been at the school for less than two years, and receives a £1600 spend on CPD (continuing professional development) for his school.

Adam ensured efforts were concentrated on students who were in danger of being NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training). Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, and lengthy periods spent out of lessons, Adam ensured Year 11 students were coached and equipped to make decisions on what to do after their GCSEs. Virtual work experience sessions were also organised for over 250 Year 10 students.

As a result, the school is expecting to meet all of its Gatsby Benchmarks –  the national standards in careers guidance – and every Year 11 student at the school has made at least two applications for post-16 courses or apprenticeships.

Adam, said “I’m thrilled to have been selected for this award. We’ve had two incredibly challenging years trying to ensure that all of our students receive the very best careers advice and guidance despite not being in school for the vast majority of the time. It’s a testament to how resilient our students are that their career aspirations have not been hindered by such uncertain times. I will share this award with the rest of my colleagues at Oasis Oldham. Their unwavering support and dedication to our students (and their futures) is truly inspirational. Prize money will be spent on running trips to local universities for students in KS3 and booking employer/employability workshops to take place in school once current restrictions are lifted.”

Also, in this category, the competition judges highly commended John Morrison (Aquinas College) for work on engaging parents during lockdown and Calum Berry (Oasis Academy Media City) for his work on meeting Gatsby benchmarks and ensuring students engaged with employers, universities, and colleges during the last 15 months.

11-16 Teaching

Joint winners are Ruth McGowan (Associate Assistant Headteacher), St Ambrose Barlow RC High School, Swinton and Chris Hirst (Head of Citizenship), Stretford High School, Stretford.

Ruth set up and managed the Ambrose Angels – a team of school staff who identified families-in-need and provided food parcels and welfare support. Ruth also managed to organise virtual cookery lessons, working with a charity to ensure ingredients were sent home in advance.

Chris set up new administrative systems that helped his school identify students who were in danger of becoming NEET and provide wellbeing support. As a result, everyone leaving the school after their GCSEs had secured work, training, or a post-16 study route.

Chris said, “Every day I count myself lucky that I have such an amazing team of teachers who all contribute towards ensuring that our students receive only the best teaching and support. The CPD money will be used by my department to focus further on how to provide additional support for those students most at risk of being NEET”

Post-16 Teaching

Motor Vehicle Lecturer Adrian Naylor, from Wigan and Leigh College.

Despite having a family of his own, Adrian converted the garage at his home into a virtual classroom, using Microsoft Teams to run lessons and provide high-quality practical demonstrations to his class. The feedback from his students was exemplary with many saying the enjoyment they got from these lessons helped them cope with the wider pressures of the lockdowns.

11-16 Support Staff

Joint winners Owen McGrattan and Maria Hall, who are members of the Pastoral Team at Oasis Media City, Salford.

Both Owen and Maria worked tirelessly across both lockdowns to ensure new Year 7 students successfully transitioned to secondary school, supported learners who did not have good IT at home, and organised various activities for students to promote careers guidance, as well as support around confidence and wellbeing.

Post-16 Support Staff

Megan Spencer (Head of School Partnerships), at Wigan and Leigh College.

Megan developed a Steps to Success programme to support school leavers who were joining the College after their GCSEs. She also adapted the admissions processes at the college to make them Covid-friendly and is described as a ‘shining light’ for her positive attitude to the challenges thrown at her.

Head of Greater Manchester Higher Sam Kalubowila, said: “We salute the hard work and dedication of our staff in schools and colleges who have gone the extra mile in such unprecedented circumstances. This was such a difficult competition to judge, given the stories of innovation and devotion that we received. The judging also brought home the fact that now, more so than ever, young people from across the region need to have the impartial information, advice, and guidance to support the decisions they are making about their futures.”

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