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GSAL teacher recognised for innovations in teaching and learning

Monday 18 March 2019

*Update – congratulations to Anne Williams on being named one of four runners up at the i25 awards.

A teacher at The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) is in the running for a major new award that recognises innovators and influencers in independent education.

Anne Williams, teacher of English, is a finalist in the i25 awards event, in recognition of her collaborative approach that makes CPD and peer support readily accessible to colleagues across the country, through social media and an annual conference at GSAL.

In 2012, Anne set up @EngChatUK on Twitter to host a weekly chat for English teachers, as she felt that many people were doing a difficult job in teaching without recognising the impact they had on pupils. Her instinct that having a forum to compare notes would make a real difference to colleagues is borne out by the figures – @EngChatUK now has 11,500 followers.

Teaching colleague Philip Britton, formerly of GSAL and now Head of Bolton School Boys’ Division, said: “On social media Anne has found a real ability to connect people in deliberations by being very open minded about ideas for the classroom and inspiring others to try things out in their own teaching.”

Having seen the value of this online collaboration, Anne was keen to bring people together face to face too. She launched the Leeds Teaching and Learning Conference at GSAL in 2016, which is now an annual event offering affordable CPD to over 300 teachers from schools across the north of England.

GSAL Principal Sue Woodroofe said: “The impact of the conference, as with the Twitter conversation, is that Anne is inspiring a whole raft of professionals in different ways, just as she inspires her colleagues here as a pedagogy leader. Her impact is absolutely in our school but also goes far wider across the country.”

Watch this short film to hear Anne and others talk about how the Twitter conversation and Leeds conference came about, and the impact on colleagues.

The winner of the i25 is to be announced at the awards event in London on Thursday 21 March. The i25 is run by iExcellence in partnership with Capita SIMS.

The next Teaching and Learning Conference takes place at GSAL on Saturday 22 June. The keynote speakers are Rev Kate Bottley and Craig Barton.

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