Cognita celebrates the inspiration, commitment and professionalism of its teachers

On 19th November, Cognita held the second of its annual Awards for Excellence, a celebration of outstanding teaching across the Group’s 64 schools world-wide. This year, nominees came from far and wide with teachers from Chile, Vietnam, Brazil, Spain, Thailand, Singapore and the United Kingdom all vying for the accolade of Teacher of the Yearin one of four teaching categories. This year, Cognita also chose to celebrate the non-teaching professionals within its schools with a new award of Support Person of the Year.

The prestigious event, which was attended by 150 of Cognita’s education and business leaders from around the globe, as well as shortlisted nominees, was held at Whittlebury Hall in Northamptonshire, not far from the Group’s UK headquarters and was hosted by the Group’s European Chief Executive, Ed Hyslop.

In Cognita’s annual Awards for Excellence, leaders from each of Cognita’s schools are invited to nominate teachers and staff within their schools who have constantly demonstrated a commitment to the highest standards of academic provision in the areas of Early Years, Primary, Secondary and Special Needs education. Non-teaching staff who consistently demonstrated high standards of work and who have the very best interests of the school at heart, were also nominated in the Support category.

A judging panel comprising of Cognita business leaders and experts in the areas of education, human resources and school management carefully assessed each of the nominees and awarded a winner and a highly commended place for each of the five categories.

Commenting on the awards, Cognita Chairman Sir Chris Woodhead said:

“This initiative makes an extremely important statement about Cognita’s values as a company – our belief both in the fundamental importance of the quality of classroom practice and that our colleagues who contribute most should be identified and rewarded.”

Category Winners

Early Years Practitioner of the Year

Nicki Halstead, Head of Early Years at Huddersfield Grammar School (United Kingdom), received the award for Early Years Practitioner of the Year, for her commitment and dedication to her role and her pupils over her 13 years at the school. Alanda Phillips, Early Years Coordinator at Chilton Cantelo School received a highly commended award in this category due to her consistently high standards and her recent role as Literacy Coordinator.

Primary Years Teacher of the Year

Adam Torrens of Stamford American International School (Singapore) was the Primary Years Teacher of the Year. Adam has worked as KG2 Teacher at Stamford for three years and has implemented a new curriculum and always demonstrates a high level of pastoral care. Sandra Brandao from Escola Cidade Jardim (Brazil) and Nicola Morley at St Andrew’s International School – Sathorn Campus (Thailand) were both highly commended for the award.

Secondary Years Teacher of the Year

Linda Carruthers at Hastings School (Spain) and Sonia Destefani of Collegio Pumahue Penalolen (Chile) were both jointly awarded the Secondary Years Teacher of the Year. Linda, due to her ongoing grading of ‘outstanding’ in all observations and for her students who have won ‘ Best Student in Spain Award’ over the past two years. Sonia has been at the school for over 11 years and her pupils achieve very good results every year. Highly commended for this award was Matt Russell, the Director of Sports at Meoncross School, for his passionate and energetic approach to all his responsibilities.

Special Education Needs Teacher of the Year

Carol Coleman was crowned Cognita’s Special Education Needs Teacher of the Year in recognition of her development of an Inclusion Policy and work on child protection at The British School of Barcelona (Spain). Highly commended for this award was Jennifer Rodger for her long standing work at The Australian International School (Singapore) and the positive impact she has had on all the pupils she works with.

Support Person of the Year

Victoria Phelps, receptionist at Sackville School (United Kingdom), was awarded Support Person of the Year as she is recognised for her reliability and politeness to parents, pupils and staff, and excels in many areas outside the scope of her role. Highly commended for the award was Bee Osanthanugrah for her 18 years of service to the group as PA to the Head and Head of Admissions at St Andrew’s International – Green Valley Campus (Thailand).