NATRE member honoured as secondary teacher of the year

Romayne Charles, secondary teacher of RE at Higham Lane School – Nuneaton, Midlands wins the Pearson Gold Award for Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School.

A brief interview with Romayne Charles on winning this prestigious award:

'The award that I received was a Pearson Gold Award for Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the awards which recognise the hard work of teachers and teaching assistants all over the UK.

The award started with a nomination from two lovely students who wanted to say thank you for the support I had given them. This was sent to my head teacher at Higham Lane School, Phil Kelly, who endorsed the nomination by gathering evidence from colleagues, parents and students.

I was delighted with the nomination, but never imagined it would amount to any more than that. To my great surprise judges from the Pearson panel came to watch me teach a lesson and interviewed myself, colleagues, parents and students. This was not your typical day at school and I was so overwhelmed tears of joy were shed. What was so nice was that the judges were previous winners who were able to put me at ease as they had been through the same thing.

As a result of that day I received a Silver Award and got to attend a celebratory lunch at the House of Lords with my local MP. This was a great opportunity to discuss the status of Religious Education and how valuable the subject is. I was informed that as a silver award winner I would attend the ceremony that would be televised by the BBC and that they came out to film all silver winners.

Another nerve wracking day came when the film crew arrived to film my ‘typical’ day at work. The students were brilliant and relished the limelight, I however was less at ease on camera. A couple of weeks later the BBC asked to come and carry out some further filming. I was informed that they wanted to film me demonstrating best practice to my colleagues. That was a lie! As I was mid flow teaching a lesson on peace and reconciliation, Carol Decker from T’Pau walked in and presented me with my award. My students erupted into cheers, and I once again cried. I had not suspected at all that this would happen. The star studded ceremony took place at the Brewery in London and was presented by Anita Rani and Sean Fletcher. It was lovely to be in a room full of people passionate about teaching who were all committed to giving students the best opportunities. As lovely as the ceremony was the party that my A Level students threw for me when I returned to school was even nicer-they had even gone to the trouble of making bunting with my photo on.

Staff have been very kind and congratulatory to me at work and a lot more people now want to come and watch RE lessons. I feel privileged to work with such excellent colleagues- and as a Subject Leader I could not wish for a better team. All students take RE as a GCSE subject which alongside creative and innovative teaching methods has helped to raise the profile of the subject.

As a department we use a lot of activities we have adapted from ideas in R.E today magazine and have found it an invaluable source of support. Conscience alley is a particular favourite among my students which I was fortunate to have demonstrated to me by the magnificent Lat himself. Although we have found preparing for the new GCSE specification challenging we have enjoyed revamping our curriculum and students are enjoying learning about multiple religions in greater depth'.