Inspirational Trust's Director for Digital Skills Honoured in Prestigious UK Celebration of Teaching

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26 May 2022

LEO Academy Trust’s Director for Computing and Digital Skills wins Silver Award for Digital Innovator of the Year.

Cheryl Shirley honoured on national Thank a Teacher Day as the country celebrates the people who make our schools so special.

Cheryl Shirley, Director for Computing and Digital Skills at LEO Academy Trust has been named as one of 80 Pearson National Teaching Award Silver Award winners across the country. Cheryl is honoured with a Silver Award in the Award for Digital Innovator of the Year for her outstanding commitment to changing the lives of the children she works with every day. 

Cheryl’s forward-thinking digital strategy has transformed teaching and learning for the near 4,000 pupils across the Trust, helping to improve accessibility, encourage pupils’ confidence and creativity when using technology and supporting staff to maximise edtech tools in the classroom. At the heart of this strategy is the Google Chromebook 1:1 programme, which ensures each pupil in Key Stage Two is equipped with personal Chromebooks to use in lessons and at home to continue their learning. 

Cheryl has a wealth of experience within the education sector and brings her unique knowledge to her pupils, having held a number of roles in South London Schools. She also holds many EdTech qualifications, including being a Google Certified Trainer and Coach.  

As a Silver Award winner, Cheryl has now been shortlisted to win one of just 16 Gold Awards later in the year. Recognition of this once in a lifetime achievement will be broadcast on the BBC’s The One Show as part of a week-long celebration of teaching, which sees famous faces honour award winners every night in the run up to the ceremony. This is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the exceptional school leaders and teachers who have worked wonders to bring together their local communities despite the challenges of the past few years. 

The Silver Award winners are being honoured as part of the wider celebrations for national ‘Thank a Teacher Day’, bringing together everyone across the country to celebrate the schools and colleges at the heart of our communities. 

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 23rd year of celebrating our school teaching staff across the UK. 

Elise Ecoff, Group Education Director at Nord Anglia Education, said: 

“Congratulations to Cheryl Shirley on this fantastic achievement. Today is an important opportunity to celebrate teachers in schools who are making a real difference in their students’ lives, whether that’s through their learning or by supporting their overall development. I always love seeing teachers use their passion to truly inspire students to develop the confidence, resilience, and creativity needed to succeed.” 

Sharon Hague, Managing Director of Schools at Pearson UK, said:

“Congratulations to today’s Silver Award winners on their incredible achievement, they should all feel very proud of themselves. And thank you to all the incredible educators and support staff across this country who really do make our schools and colleges so special. I am delighted that we can take this opportunity to say how much we appreciate all that you do for the young people in your care.” 

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said:

“Congratulations to Cheryl Shirley on this incredible achievement, and for the hard work and dedication which led up to it. Winning this award is impressive, well-deserved and shows Cheryl’s commitment to helping students achieve their full potential.”

Michael Morpurgo, celebrated author and former Children’s Laureate, and President of the Teaching Awards Trust, 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.”