Winterbourne Academy teacher Deb Simmons nominated for national award

September 03 2020
Winterbourne Academy teacher Deb Simmons nominated for national award

A MATHS teacher at Winterbourne Academy has been shortlisted for a national teacher of the year award.

Deb Simmons, who’s been teaching for 28 years, currently teaches year 7 to 11 and is also a year 7 tutor at the school.

She has been nominated in the Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School category in the 2020 Pearson National Teaching Awards.

The awards were established in 1998 by Lord David Puttnam to celebrate excellence and acknowledge the "life-changing impact" an inspirational teacher can have on young people’s lives.

Run by the Teaching Awards Trust and supported by Pearson and the BBC, organisers describe them as "the Oscars of the teaching profession".

Deb said: “I feel very proud to have been shortlisted. My colleague Dom Bareau rang me to tell me as soon as he heard. I had no idea I'd been nominated by him, so it came as a lovely surprise during lockdown.

I've always loved maths and hoped I could help pupils to enjoy it as much as I do. I wanted a career that was positive and helpful in society.

"The best motivator for anyone is success. I work hard to create an environment where pupils can succeed, be challenged and feel safe to ask questions. I do love to play games as well – any bit of Maths can be turned into a game, with some imagination.

One of the best things about being a secondary teacher is seeing a pupil develop into a young, successful adult. I love hearing about all their achievements in and out of school.”

Assistant head teacher Andrea William-Jones said: “Deb Simmons is the heart and soul of Winterbourne Academy.

"She is an incredible maths teacher and pastoral tutor who never rests on her laurels (which are numerous!), but researches new and innovative ways to ensure her students make amazing progress – and to feel safe and valued at school.

Deb throws herself into all areas of the school community: training maths challenge teams, training staff at INSET, dressing up regularly for charity events, running singing clubs, amongst many other ways.

"If we had a visitor to the school and wanted to show them a lesson, Deb’s classroom would always be the first destination.

"As one of her fellow maths teachers eloquently put it: 'Deb is who I want to be when I grow up.”

The awards will be announced in two stages: silver winners in September and gold at a ceremony in October.