Every year, all schools across the UK are invited to nominate their most outstanding headteachers, teachers, teaching assistants and governors. Anyone can make a nomination. Nominations are then endorsed by the senior management team to proceed to the next stage. There are various regional events that act as qualifying rounds for the national awards. The televised UK Ceremony is held in autumn, where awards are given out in various categories.
The Teaching Awards Trust
The Teaching Awards were established by Lord Puttnam CBE in 1998 and are managed by an independent charity, the Teaching Awards Trust. The Teaching Awards Trust aims to celebrate excellence and promote best practice in education. The Oscar award winning actress Emma Thompson became the president of the Teaching Awards in 2009. She said "I owe so much of what I've done to my fantastic teachers at school and at university and it's exciting to join in celebrating what is probably the most important profession of them all".
The Teaching Awards Trust was initially established to regenerate national pride in the teaching profession. The Trust has been successful in achieving this aim and has repositioned itself as a centre of excellence in education with the following aims:
- promote teaching as a career
- disseminate best practice
- encourage the involvement of other stakeholders in education
- engage with a wider audience at a national level
The Awards are supported by all the main political parties, the Department for Education in England, the Department of Education in Northern Ireland, the Scottish Executive and the Welsh Assembly Government as well as all the national teaching unions and associations.
The Teaching Awards Trust works in partnership with the BBC. The UK Ceremony is a produced in conjunction with the BBC and is shown on BBC Two in a primetime slot as a showcase of excellence in education. During the programme, winning teachers are presented with a Plato award, designed by sculptor Glynis Owen and based on her work titled 'The Thinking Man.' Examples can be seen at http://www.glynisowensculptor.co.uk.
The Teaching Awards are funded through sponsorship, donations and grants. The current main sponsor is Pearson plc.