Danny Sweatman, head of nurture provision at Aylsham High School, has been named winner of the Teacher of the Year award, sponsored by Teach, at the Norfolk Education Awards 2023.

During the pandemic, Danny took the conscious decision to invite Year Seven nurture students to attend the school setting, considering the vulnerabilities and implications that the wider global circumstances were having.

These students have special educational needs, learning difficulties or are otherwise vulnerable due to attention deficit or anxiety barriers to learning.

To embellish the curriculum during the Covid-19 pandemic, Danny engaged the Countryside Alliance – Fishing for Schools programme, and collectively they devised and delivered the Angling Skills Activity Award.

The award was adapted for remote (online) delivery so that an assessment could be taken when Covid restrictions permitted, and it was so successful that it subsequently became part of the nurture group curriculum.

To date 75 students have taken the course, which is now a formal qualification, with an advanced level for students from Years 9 and 10.

The initiative also attracted the attention of Lady Philippa Dannatt, Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, who attended the first bankside field trip to observe the session in action.

The judges were impressed that Danny went above and beyond the requirements of his day job, considering the wellbeing and mental health of his students and how to keep them motivated during a difficult period.

They said he “embellished the curriculum in a creative way during Covid”, adding that the positive effects have continued for pupils at Aylsham High School.

Danny said it was an “honour” and a “real privilege” to win the Teacher of the Year award. “Obviously, I know it’s an individual award, but it’s very much a team thing at Aylsham High School,” he said.

“I work with the most incredible staff, whether that’s teaching colleagues, our wonderful SLT team, pastoral colleagues or our learning support assistants.”

For more information on the Norfolk Education Awards, please visit the website.

To find out more about all of this year's winners, please click here.

The finalists

Belinda Laybourne – East Norfolk Sixth Form College

Belinda Laybourne joined East Norfolk Sixth Form College in September 2021 as a bursary trainee teacher of science. She was appointed as a full-time permanent teacher of science in September 2022.

Belinda is described as “a ray of sunshine who inspires and motivates everyone around her”. 
The judges said she has shown real dedication to the profession, inspiring her students through excellent use of analogies and practical activities. 

Karen Lea – Peterhouse Church of England Primary Academy

Karen Lea has worked at Peterhouse Church of England Primary Academy for six years. 

She is said to have an amazing motivation for her job and is always researching how to inspire children, especially when it comes to promoting reading and its importance at home. 

The judges were impressed by the description of Karen as being “like a magician”, and also being “infectious in her love for teaching”.

About the sponsor

Teach is an educational supply specialist working across East Anglia.

Established in 2011, Teach is proud to supply experienced teachers, teaching assistants and nursery nurses to its clients in a wide range of mainstream and SEND settings.

Its mission is to build an education community with strong relationships to ultimately provide the very best teaching and learning experience. 

Teach’s head office is in Framingham Pigot, just outside Norwich, where its team of 25 is situated. 

The team at Teach helps schools to find specialist teachers and support staff to ensure inclusive provision.