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‘Amazing and inspirational’ winners of Teaching and Education Awards revealed

The ‘amazing and inspirational’ winners of the Swim England Teaching and Education Awards 2021 have been announced.

Eight awards recognising the fantastic achievements of operators, educators, swimming teachers, swim schools and lessons providers were presented during a virtual ceremony on the Swim England YouTube channel.

Before the ceremony, Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson thanked everyone who helped ensure thousands and thousands of children be safe in, on and around water.

Jane said: “I spend much of my time talking about the challenges facing aquatics and trying to resolve long deep-rooted issues like the shortage of facilities and workforce challenges.

“That is right and proper as we won’t get anywhere by burying our heads in the sand and just hoping for the best.

Huge thank you

“It’s also important to stop and take all the opportunities we can to celebrate and highlight the positives.

“That’s what today is about as we honour some of the amazing swimming teachers, coaches, approved training centres and educators we are so fortunate to have across this country.

“I’m always excited when we have the opportunity to recognise some of the brilliant individuals and to highlight the innovations and successes that have been taking place over the past year in what has remained an incredibly challenging period.

“A huge thank you from everyone at Swim England and the Institute of Swimming to all the coaches, swimming teachers, swim schools and training centres.

“While we can only announce one winner in each category, the work you all do day in, day out to pass on that love of water to thousands and thousands of children, giving them the skills to be safe in, on and around the water, is truly inspirational.”

The award winners were:

Swim England Approved Centre Inclusion Champions – Triton Training

Warwick Andrews, Swim England Qualifications chairperson, said: “Based in London, Triton Training pride themselves for being inclusive, highlighting the need for equality and promoting diversity. 

“In 2020, they took this a step further by being innovative in identifying funding pots so that they could be even more inclusive within their training courses and offering them for free to learners most in need. 

“After being successful and receiving funding from the European Social Fund, they were able to run the programme that could cover the whole of London and Tandridge. The criteria for learners to be accepted onto the programme is that they were unemployed and lived in London or Tandridge.

“Triton Training provided support to those who needed equipment such as laptops, and provided T-shirts so everyone looked the same and did not have to worry about bringing another top.

“They also support learners into local volunteering or employment opportunities, which enables them to earn their own money and reduce the amount of money they claim from Universal Credits.

“Congratulations to Triton Training.”

Trainee Tutor of the Year – Marie Leather

Sarah Green, Swim England head of educator training, said: “Described as ‘the full package’, Marie was nominated for her drive and passion for tutoring. 

“She’s given 110 per cent into keeping up her learning by spending her own time reviewing past portfolios for assessment practice, countless online support meetings to practice delivering remotely and heading safely and positively straight into practical assessments to get teachers back in the industry.

“Her development has led her to transition into full time learning and development lead and will play a significant role in recruiting, training, developing and retaining future swimming teachers. 

“Well done Marie.”

Educator of the Year – Tracey Jackson

Sarah said: “Tracey is passionate about education and has grown into the role of a tutor. She has demonstrated a really nurturing style of tutoring to her learners. 

“She is fearless and loves a challenge and will strive to overcome and make the challenge her own. 

“Tracey has endless energy and inspires her learners and draws them in towards achievement.

“Learners enjoy working with Tracey. She has a no nonsense attitude and learners know exactly where they stand with her. She has no problem with going out of her way to help learners achieve.

“She has really proven herself to be a valuable asset to the tutor team and we know delivery will be of a really high standard. Congratulations Tracey.”

Swim England Primary School of the Year – Mellers Primary School

Ashley Jones, Swim England water safety and drownings prevention manager, said: “Amanda, who is the head teacher at Mellers Primary School, prioritises swimming as a life skill and reaps the benefits in the classroom. 

“Working closely with the local authority swimming provider, the school ensures the swim charter is embedded in its programme in the best way possible. 

“This is achieved by providing assistants in the water to help the swimming teachers when children need extra support or have language barriers, as more than 15 languages are spoken within the school community. 

“They are also committed in wanting the children to achieve and be safe around water.

“Thank you Mellers Primary School for your commitment to swimming.”

Swim England Swim School of the Year – Diamond Swim Academy

Katie Towner, Swim England head of learn to swim, said: “Diamond Swim Academy has a fantastic team of dedicated, kind, professional and responsive teachers.

“This, throughout the pandemic, they have exceeded parent’s expectations and have gone above and beyond to keep children connected whilst they were unable to attend lessons due to restrictions. 

“This included regular communication, activities to keep the children busy at home and consistent updates specific to their lessons and what to expect on their return.

“Since being back, teachers have worked tirelessly to support the learners and the pay off is evidently seen by the progress they are making in the pool in short amount of time they have been back. 

“The teachers are fantastic, very approachable with the parents and they have great bonds with all of the children.”

Swim England Swimming Teacher of the Year – Omie Dale

Katie said: “Omie is an inspiration for the young and diverse generation that are trying to access swimming and has been a champion for the inner London areas of deprivation getting into swimming. 

“She has helped the families of the Grenfell devastation get into swimming and giving them some mental health relief. 

“She is an influencer that has pushed swimming forward for people of LGBT and BAME backgrounds to get into the sport.

“Congratulations Omie.”

School Swimming Lesson Provider of the Year – Nottingham City Council School Swimming

Alex Barrett. Swim England senior engagement manager, said: “Nottingham City Council School Swimming provides a comprehensive swimming experience for city primary school children. 

“The team deliver fun lessons, whilst also delivering water safety elements as part of regular lessons. 

“Within these lessons, children are given skills that build their confidence in and around water and you can clearly see how much the lessons mean. 

“For a lot of children in Nottingham, school swimming is the only opportunity the children get to experience swimming as there is a high level of deprivation which means regular lessons are beyond the means of their parents. 

“The teaching staff are well qualified and deliver high-quality, diverse and engaging lessons, and provide a supportive environment for SEND

“Congratulations Nottingham City Council School Swimming.”

Swim England Health Impact Award – Chesterfield Borough Council

Andrew Power, Swim England water wellbeing specialist, said: “In early 2020, Chesterfield Borough Council was approached by one of its swimming teachers, Lesley, who shared her experiences of attending swimming sessions aimed at people who were recovering from cancer. 

“The swimming sessions helped provide physical activity and the opportunity to speed up recovery post-surgery and treatment.

“As no provision was provided locally, this meant there was a need. Many patients undergo treatment annually in Chesterfield, either through the local hospital or at Weston Park Cancer Centre, Sheffield, a centre for excellence in cancer care and research. 

“Their research highlighted the positive impact of physical activity post-surgery and treatment for cancer.

“Working with Lesley, Chesterfield Borough Council was able to create a programme that provided learn to swim sessions for adults, engaging in physical activity for adults, ensuring sustainable engagement in swimming for adults, but most importantly assisting in recovery post-surgery and cancer treatment.

“Congratulations Chesterfield Borough Council.”