Nunhead teacher named as one of Britain’s most inspirational educators

Charles Harrison (23 November, 2021)

“No one goes into teaching to win awards, but it is lovely to have all your hard work recognised like this."

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A Nunhead teacher has today been named as one of Britain’s most inspirational educators on BBC One’s The One Show.

The prestigious Gold Teaching Award for Headteacher of the Year in a Primary School in the Pearson National Teaching Awards has gone to Reema Reid of Hollydale Primary School.

The award is part of a week-long teaching celebration which ends this Sunday at a prestigious ceremony.

“It’s a little bit overwhelming!” said Reema. “No one goes into teaching to win awards, but it is lovely to have all your hard work recognised like this.

“Teaching is hard at times but it is a fantastic job, and is so rewarding. We don’t just work with the children but with their families and the wider community, and this award shows how well we have brought our community into our school.

“I want to thank everyone who has helped me, all the staff at Hollydale and all of our incredible children, for their support. This really is an achievement for them as much as me.”

The daughter of a Windrush immigrant, Reema first joined education as a lunchtime supervisor and a teaching assistant in Lambeth, before eventually becoming Head of School. She has worked in Southwark as a substantive headteacher since 2013.

A fellow teacher nominated Reema, saying that it was her story that had inspired her to do so.

“Being a single mother, starting as a school dinner lady, working her way up: that in itself is so inspirational,” said the teacher on the BBC show. “She’s used her drive to inspire the teachers that she works with, the parents, and the students.”

Other members of staff on the show said of Reema: “Academically, socially, emotionally, she’s always caring for the children.”

Another added: “Whatever opportunities are available for the school to deliver more to the children, Ms Reid will be there for that.”

Reema greets students at the school gates every day in order to see how they are feeling. In the past, she has crowdsourced laptops to help students who struggle to access online education, and put on language classes to support parents.

Additionally, as part of Southwark’s Teaching School Alliance, Reema has helped to coach and mentor ethnic minority teachers to take up leadership roles in their schools and has empowered many BAME educators and pupils to follow in her footsteps.

Paul Mattias, National Director of Hays Education, supporter of The Award for Headteacher of the Year in a Primary School, said: “We work with thousands of schools across the country and know too well the impact of a truly inspirational leader.

“Reema Reid is clearly that, and her story shows us how respected they are by everyone who comes into contact with them. She is a thoroughly deserving winner of this award, and we wish her all the best for her future career.”

The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of excellence in education, founded in 1998 by Lord Puttnam to recognise the life-changing impact an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of the young people they work with. The 2022 Pearson National Teaching Awards open for entry on Friday 26 November 2021.

Sir Michael Morpurgo, celebrated author and former Children’s laureate, and President of the Teaching Awards Trust, said: “People of all ages will always remember that wonderful teacher who made such a difference in their lives.

“The teacher will never know how many lives they have changed, or the impact they have made on so many families, but our hope is that these awards help show our gratitude.”

There are 15 categories in total in the teaching awards. The other winners will be announced as the week progresses.

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