Vicky Pinkney, Vice Principal of Grangefield Academy (Grangefield) in Stockton, has been voted top of the class, winning the award for Leadership at the North East Teach First Awards.

Beating six other candidates in the category, Vicky was originally nominated for the award by colleagues for her progress and dedication to the Teach First development programme within Grangefield Academy, which is one of five schools in Stockton that are sponsored by The Northern Education Trust.

During her time there, she has trained and developed several Teach First participants into outstanding leaders within the classroom. Speaking about her work Vicky said,

“I have been at Grangefield for three years now and we have exceptionally high standards of teaching. To be able to instil our strong values and vision as a school into future classroom leaders is very important.

“At Grangefield we whole-heartedly believe in educational equality for all children, regardless of their background and our training of Teach First participants is entirely orientated around this”.

Vicky first got into teaching after her own positive experience during school. Coming from a disadvantaged background, Vicky’s aspirations for continuing onto further education were very limited, until she was inspired by one of her secondary school teachers. Vicky added,

“When I was at school, no one in my family had ever been to university. I did not think that a child like me, from my background, would ever be able to go onto further education. If I had not been shown otherwise, I would not be where I am today.

“This is why the work we do here at Grangefield is so important. A lot of our students have difficult backgrounds, but we are here to instil the belief that they can go to university and to ensure that they are given equal educational opportunities.”

Ian Kershaw, Chief Executive of the Northern Education Trust said,

“This is an excellent achievement by Vicky. We are very proud to see such a high level of dedication and teaching from our staff. As a Trust we are committed to providing ongoing corporate professional development for our teaching staff and we encourage the sharing of best practice throughout all our academies. I am pleased that Vicky’s abilities have been recognised in this way”.

Teach First initiated the regional awards ceremony to celebrate being in the North East for five years. Lil Collingham, Regional Director of Teach First North East said,

“Teach First is delighted to be able to formally recognise the exceptional support that Vicky has provided to 16 of our Teach First trainees over the years. Teach First is a national education charity with the vision that no child’s educational success should be limited by their socio-economic background and this vision is more than reflected in the work Vicky continues to do at Grangefield Academy.

The award for Leadership perfectly sums up Vicky’s commitment and drive to develop the teachers of the future both at Grangefield and beyond”.

Vicky plans to continue to develop and inspire future generations and leaders within Grangefield, playing a key role in the school’s vision for educational equality for all children.