Royal Wootton Bassett Academy teacher recognised as one of the best in the country

By Anita Jaynes on 8 July, 2020

An engineering teacher at Royal Wootton Bassett Academy has been recognised as one of the best teachers in the country.

Sarah Day, Design and Technology Key Stage 4 Co-Ordinator at RWBA, has been selected to receive a Bronze Award for BTEC Pearson Teacher of the Year 2020. The BTEC Pearson awards recognise exceptional performance by learners and educators nationally, with judges looking for strength, resilience, flexibility and determination among students and teachers.

Sarah was nominated earlier this academic year by her colleague Stephanie Payne, who is Design and Technology Key Stage 3 Co-ordinator at the school. Stephanie said that since taking on the subject of engineering six years ago, Sarah has inspired students through a range of innovations and initiatives, and transformed it into one of the most popular and successful subjects at RWBA.

“Sarah has built some fantastic links with local industries including Dyson, Renishaw, TE Connectivity, Praxair, Honda, BMW, Stainless Supplies and Cortus Engineering Ltd, all of which aid the delivery of the subject through real world experiences with role models and facilities, and showing pupils the local apprenticeship opportunities available,” said Stephanie.

“She organises trips and visits from engineers and past students in industry who inspire our learners and help to drive the subject forward. The passion and dedication Sarah shows for the subject of engineering is huge, and she strives to get the best from her students and inspires the next generation of engineers. She is also passionate about encouraging more girls into engineering. 

“Each year we celebrate International Women in Engineering Day which helps to raise the profile of women engineers, and each year we see more girls joining the BTEC Engineering course at RWBA and we are proud to help inspire girls into a subject that is still male-dominated. Sarah’s contribution to that cannot be overstated.”

Sarah said, “I was absolutely blown away to hear I had won the bronze award and really couldn’t have achieved it without lots of other people’s support. Steph and I are a team, so collaborating with someone equally as enthusiastic about engineering really does help keep our ideas fresh. The school has allowed me to grow the subject from 50 pupils in one year group to over 250 students in years 10 to 13.

“Engineering was a massive step out of my comfort zone initially, but after sourcing help from local companies I realised how relevant I could make it to the pupils. Engineering is in everything we eat, wear and use, and the principle of constantly improving and developing is exciting to keep pupils engaged and inspire them for their own careers.”

Headteacher Anita Ellis said she is proud of Sarah’s achievement.

Royal Wootton Bassett Academy Headteacher, Anita Ellis.

“Sarah has made a terrific impact on engineering at RWBA, and this award is thoroughly deserved,” she said.

“Engineering can have a huge impact on the environment and how the future of the planet plays out. Behind the headlines of Britain being able to go over two months without burning coal is a vast array of engineers and designers who are setting the path to a greener future. RWBA looks forward to inspiring lots more budding engineers to help move our world forward!”

Pictured above: Design and technology coordinators Steph Payne and Sarah Day of Royal Wootton Bassett Academy.