The Thinking Schools Academy Trust: What do the Teach Portsmouth Awards mean to you?

TSAT--What-do-the-TP-awards-mean-to-you--news-hub_20210506-143336_1 The Thinking Schools Academy Trust tell us what the awards mean to them

With the closing date for nominations to the Teach Portsmouth Award's event firmly in sight, we are continuing to introduce the sponsors who have made this event possible.

In this week's article, find out what the awards mean to The Thinking Schools Academy Trust (TSAT) who are this year's sponsor of the creativity award.

The Teach Portsmouth Awards recognise the achievements of education professionals in schools, colleges and organisations across the waterfront city. This year we'll be celebrating Portsmouth's star teachers, support teams and leaders at a virtual awards ceremony on Thursday 8 July.

In this article, we caught up with Natalie Sheppard, director of education at TSAT.

Could you tell us what you do and what connection to education you have? 

I'm a director of education (DoE) at the Thinking Schools Academy Trust (TSAT). As part of this role I oversee several schools in the city.

I'm very lucky to work with such a passionate and committed team of people.

In my role, I lead on school development, as well as monitor school performance. I assist schools in identifying areas for improvement and ensure they're provided with appropriate support, development and guidance.

I previously worked at The Portsmouth Academy as head teacher and have been in the profession my entire career. I'm from Portsmouth myself and I'm passionate about moving schools forward and evolving education to make the next generation one of life-long learners. I am focussed on digital strategy and collaborating with schools to champion change where it is needed.

What does the Teach Portsmouth Awards mean to you/organisation? 

Here at TSAT one of our mottos is 'We are one' and I think this works on so many levels, especially in this instance where we're all working towards the same goal. And now, more than ever, we are one when it comes to recognising teachers and celebrating their continued commitment and successes

The awards are an amazing way to do just that and to say 'thank you' to teachers across Portsmouth. Teachers who are nurturing, sharing knowledge, and developing our next generation. I know, first-hand, how challenging this career can be, and I also know that to receive a thank you and to feel valued for all that you do day in, day out, is utterly priceless. 

What are you looking forward to from the awards ceremony? 

I'm excited to hear all the stories of the amazing work that teachers, support staff, and school communities have done across Portsmouth, during what has been the toughest time we've ever faced in teaching. I'm also looking forward to being part of something bigger.  

What special message do you have for Portsmouth's teacher, support teams and leaders?

None of this last year has been easy – the rug was pulled, well and truly, from under all of us – and while I could stand here and shout "you've got this!" or "you're doing a great job!", what I really mean is, I see you and I value all that you've sacrificed and everything you've committed to since last March.

Teaching has long been recognised as a vocation, a passion; and that belief has been pushed to the brink… but we're still here, here for the love of teaching.

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