++ The Gateway Academy headteacher wins Silver Award for Headteacher of the Year in a Secondary School ++


++ Grainne McLaughlin honoured on national Thank a Teacher Day as the country celebrates the people who make our schools so special ++   


Today, 26 May, Grainne McLaughlin, Headteacher at The Gateway Academy has been named as one of 80 Pearson National Teaching Award Silver Award winners across the country. Grainne is honoured with a Silver Award in the Award for Headteacher of the Year in a Secondary School for their outstanding commitment to changing the lives of the children they work with every day.

Since Joining The Gateway Academy in 2015, Grainne has been a force for change within both the school and the local community. Although students at the Gateway Academy often join us at a level lower than national average, and despite a higher level of deprivation in the area, Grainne never uses this as an excuse for our students not to excel. More students than ever are moving onto exceptional further and higher education providers such as Russell Group Universities and Cambridge. One student worked their way to a full scholarship at a private school for sixth form.  

Staff wellbeing is always a priority for Grainne, and she ensures that the school is staffed with the highest quality teachers. In addition to consistently working alongside the community, Grainne's commitment to hiring expert teachers and creating a positive and ambitious school ethos has ensured the school is now oversubscribed with a waiting list in Year 7. With determination and a sincere passion for the students, Grainne is changing the lives of both students and their families across Thurrock. 

 As a Silver Award winner, Grainne has now been shortlisted to win one of just 16 Gold Awards later in the year. These once in a lifetime achievements will be broadcast on the BBC’s The One Show as part of a week-long celebration of teaching, which sees famous faces honour award winners every night in the run up to the ceremony. This is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the exceptional school staff who have worked wonders to bring together their local communities despite the challenges of the past few years. 


The Silver Award winners are being honoured as part of the wider celebrations for national ‘Thank a Teacher Day’, bringing together everyone across the country to celebrate the schools and colleges at the heart of our communities. 


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. This year marks its 23rd year of celebrating our school teaching staff across the UK. 

 Paul Matthias, National Director at Hays Education, said: 


“Working in placing thousands of education professionals across the country – we know that the right school leader is essential to the success of a school and the wellbeing of its students. Grainne McLaughlin has received one of the highest accolades a head can receive, and it’s obvious from the feedback how much she deserves it” 

 Sharon Hague, Managing Director of Schools at Pearson UK, said:


“Congratulations to today’s Silver Award winners on their incredible achievement, they should all feel very proud of themselves. And thank you to all the incredible educators and support staff across this country who really do make our schools and colleges so special. I am delighted that we can take this opportunity to say how much we appreciate all that you do for us.” 

 Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said:


“Congratulations to Grainne McLaughlin on this incredible achievement, and for the hard work and dedication which led up to it. Winning this award is impressive, well-deserved and shows Grainne’s commitment to helping students achieve their full potential.”

 Michael Morpurgo, celebrated author and former Children’s Laureate, and President of the Teaching Awards Trust, said: 


“For so many of us, it was someone at school who changed our lives, was at our side through hard and difficult times, who lifted us up when we were down, helped us find our voice, gave us confidence when we needed it most, and set us on a path that we have followed ever since. 

 “No matter who we are, school has touched our lives and played a central role in our childhoods. School is about so much more than learning, and we see that now more than ever before. Schools really are the beating heart of our communities. Every person that cares for our children in schools should be celebrated loud and clear on Thank A Teacher Day 2022.” 




GMN Pearsons

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