From education to employment

Exhibition by Hereward College lecturer captures dedication of teachers across the UK

Donna Bridgewater is pictured, centre, at the exhibition.

The dedication of teachers across the UK has been captured in an exhibition of images by a Hereward College lecturer for a prestigious national awards ceremony.

Donna Bridgewater, who teaches photography and mixed media, was commissioned by the Teaching Awards Trust to create a series of images that celebrates the best of the best in teaching.

Manjit Nahal, lead lunchtime supervisor at Bridgetown School in Stratford-upon-Avon

She was asked to photograph ten of the shortlisted educators in the Pearsons National Teaching Awards, who include headteachers, primary and secondary school teachers, college lecturers and a lead lunchtime supervisor.

Donna visited eight schools during July and September in Crewe, Hartlepool, Kendal, Leicester, Liverpool, Pembrokeshire, Stratford-upon-Avon and Sutton in South London. Two images for schools in Derry, Northern Ireland, and Glasgow, were shot remotely.

Lee McCue, Secondary school teacher, Madeley High School, Crewe, Staffordshire. Shortlisted for Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School.

An exhibition of the photos entitled the ‘Gallery of Greats’ was launched at the All is Joy Gallery, in Dean Street, London, last week as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations for the Teaching Awards Trust.

Donna Bridgewater is pictured, centre, at the exhibition.

The awards ceremony is being held this Saturday (November 25) and the award winners will be invited to appear on the BBC’s The One Show.

Donna, who created the exhibition in collaboration with Pearsons and will also attend the ceremony, said: “This project is very close to my heart. Working as a teacher in education I consistently witness how educators have a massive impact on young people’s lives every day.

“I’ve used my lens to capture a range of captivating stories of these fantastic and inspiring award winners. This exhibition is a tribute to their dedication, passion and innovation.”

The ten educators featured include Manjit Nahal, lead lunchtime supervisor at Bridgetown School in Stratford-upon-Avon, who has been shortlisted for the Award for Unsung Hero.

Manjit, a midday supervisor since 2014 and lead lunchtime supervisor since 2019, wears many hats, including caretaker and part-time teaching assistant. She leads a team of 10 and often addresses assemblies on lunchtime behaviour expectations.

Manjit’s creativity shines through in her weekly “Lunchtime Star of the Week” award scheme, where she sprinkles ‘magic and smiles’ for eight lucky students who enjoy a special meal at an elegant table she prepares with care.

Matthew Jessop, Head teacher, Crosthwaite CofE School, Kendal, Cumbria. Shortlisted for Head Teacher of the Year in a Primary School.

Describing the exhibition as “inspiring”, the Teaching Awards Trust said: “Through these captivating portraits Donna showcases teachers’ dedication and innovation, offering a rare glimpse into the lives of those who shape and inspire young minds.”

Donna, who combines teaching Foundation learners at Hereward with her Birmingham-based professional photography business Bridgewater Photography, added:

“I was truly inspired by all the teachers I met and photographed.

“I hope my work gives visitors a rare insight into the daily routines of the education profession whilst conveying the enthusiasm, expertise, and nurturing environment educators create every day.

“I knew my final portraits would be a genuine reflection of the very best educators in the UK.”

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