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Laura Denton wins Silver Lecturer of the Year Award

Congratulations to inspirational teacher Laura Denton, who has won a Pearson National Teaching Silver Award for FE Lecturer of the Year.

Laura, who is a Travel and Tourism Programme Leader, became one of just 102 silver winners across the country in recognition of her outstanding commitment to changing the lives of young people.

Her dedication to her students across all aspects of their development ensures they leave college in the best possible position to enter employment or progress onto the next level, whilst her experience in the tourism and hospitality industry helps provide the best opportunities and contacts for her students.

She created the ’12 Days of Christmas Kindness’ project after lockdown last year to give back to those who need it most, raising money for 12 different community groups, along with gifts, food supplies and personal notes from students.

Laura also checked in with each one of her students daily during lockdown, to help combat isolation and let them know they weren’t alone.

“This is an incredible achievement within my 10 years working here at the Grimsby Institute,” she said. “I feel very overwhelmed to have won this award and to be recognised for how hard I work with the students, particularly during the pandemic.

“I found the first lockdown incredibly hard, so wanted to make sure my students knew that there was someone there. They needed to know they weren’t alone, even if I couldn’t physically be with them. This win isn’t just for me, it’s for my students. They’re a very big part of my family.”

Following a special reception later in the year, Laura has now been shortlisted to win one of just 15 Gold Awards, in a programme which will be broadcast on the BBC.

Emma Forrest-Leigh, Grimsby Institute Vice Principal, said: “Laura is in the business of changing lives. Her work reaches the hearts and minds of her students, setting alight a fire of ambition that burns through their study journey with her and beyond. Laura empowers people. She helps students to find their voice, develop their skills and become the best versions of themselves. Laura is student centred and dedicated to her craft. She blows us away with her work and the impact she makes across our community. We are beyond delighted for Laura’s work to be recognised with this award.”

Level 3 Travel and Tourism students Chelsea Shire and Henri Ferrand, who were involved in Laura’s nomination, also commented: “Laura is superhuman to us; she goes out of her way to make sure we’ve got everything we need and support us. She did a full check in with each of us every day during the lockdown to make sure we were ok, which meant a lot. She always says college is more than these four walls and the world is our oyster and does everything she can to open up new opportunities for her.It feels amazing to know she’s won; I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more. She puts her heart and soul into the course.”

The award was handed out by Chris Turner, Curriculum Development Manager, UK BTEC & Apprenticeships FE Sales at Pearson, to coincide with national Thank a Teacher Day.

He said: “This is an absolutely massive achievement. Laura’s one of only 102 Silver Award winners so she should be very proud. This award is to acknowledge and recognise the support that she has given to her students over the last year, particularly during the challenges of lockdown. The fact she goes the extra mile for her students was very apparent in the application and we’re delighted that she’s been recognised in this way.”

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 22nd year of celebrating, award-winning teachers, teaching assistants, headteachers and lecturers across the UK.