Carolynn wins National Gold Award!

Carolynn Southcombe, School Administrator at Cottingham CofE Primary School has this evening (25 November) been named one of the nation’s most inspirational educators on BBC’s ‘The One Show’, having won the coveted Gold Award in the Unsing Hero category of the prestigious Pearson National Teaching Awards.

Carolynn was presented with her award by Alex Jones, who had arrived at the school in disguise as a baker delivering an urgently needed cake. Unbeknown to Carolynn, her current and former colleagues, pupils and family had gathered in the assembly hall to surprise her with the award.

Carolynn has been School Administrator in Cottingham for 20 years, having previously served in the RAF for eight years and as a special constable for four years. She organises student enrichment trips, arranges weekly whole school yoga sessions, and opens these up to students and parents. She leads the Magnificent Minds group, working with children who then act as role models to promote wellbeing and healthy living to other students, and the ‘Love to Lunch’ group where family members are invited into school to eat with the children and enjoy the experience of sharing special time together.

Carolynn has also taken part in the London-to-Brighton Walk, the London Marathon and a 100-mile walking challenge to raise funds for an outdoors area at the school. As well as raising thousands of pounds for the children, charities including The British Heart Foundation and Breast Cancer UK have also benefited from her support.

“I was overwhelmed to have been nominated in the first instance,” said Carolynn. “Winning the gold is incredible and also a testament to Cottingham CofE Primary School – it really is an amazing place to work. I want to thank Mr Scott, the headteacher for nominating me and letting me be me, leading the children in various activities to help get that important message across about looking after their mental health and wellbeing. I want to thank the children who really make our school the amazing place it is and all the staff and school community for their support.”

Carolynn is pictured below at the glittering awards ceremony, held on 26 November in London, where she was honoured alongside 90 Silver Award winners and her fellow Gold Winners across 16 categories as the best of the UK’s educators. 

The Pearson National Teaching Awards are 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 the 23rd year of the awards, celebrating our school teaching staff across the UK

Sir Michael Morpurgo, celebrated author and former Children’s Laureate, and President of the Teaching Awards Trust, said: 

“People of all ages will always remember that amazing teacher who made such a difference in their lives, whether that’s igniting a fire for their favourite subject or the support they’re received outside the classroom. Teachers and school staff will never know how many lives they have changed, or the impact they have made on so many children and their families, but our hope is that these awards help show them our gratitude, how much we owe them, how much we value their dedication.”

Sharon Hague, Managing Director, Pearson Schools Qualifications, said:

“More than ever we are seeing the tireless work that our teachers, lecturers, and school staff do day in, day out, to support not only our children but their families too. 

“Congratulations to all our Gold Award winners, who are shining examples of the incredible work going on in our nurseries, schools and colleges every day. This week we have heard so many inspirational stories about our school staff that highlight the exceptional dedication they have to their students, their colleagues, and their communities.”

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said:

Many congratulations to Carolynn Southcombe.

“Our award winners’s fantastic work and dedication to their students is truly an inspiration, and these awards provide well earned recognition of the work of incredible teachers and school staff up and down the country. 

“We have some of the best teachers in the world and I want to thank every single person working so hard to support children and young people for their expertise and commitment.”