Staff login

0800 612 6008

£15,000 to help local children shine – City of Oxford College teacher wins national award

Alice Eardley from Activate Learning’s Technology Campus in Blackbird Leys, Oxford, has won £15,000 to realise her fantastic idea to help ignite her students’ passion for English as part of the annual Let Teachers SHINE competition.

Let Teachers SHINE, run by the education charity SHINE and supported by Tes (The Times Educational Supplement), offers funding to teachers who have brilliant ideas to help disadvantaged children succeed in English, maths or science. As well as funding, SHINE provides teachers with free access to a broad range of development workshops and coaching opportunities.

This year Alice became one of just 14 finalists who demonstrated their unique idea to raise achievement in English. Working with two other English teachers, Louise McGrigor, based at Activate Learning’s City of Oxford College and Christine Dawkins, from the group’s Reading campus, she will be using virtual reality and gaming systems to build an online vocabulary development programme. The programme will support students re-sitting English GCSE while undertaking vocational courses at the college and it is hoped that this will help boost achievement across the board.

Alice Eardley, English Teacher at Activate Learning’s Blackbird Leys Technology Campus, said “I’m really thrilled about winning this funding. GCSE English resits can be a significant challenge for students and this gives us a fabulous opportunity to help boost their confidence and achievement.

Anne Haig Smith, Director of the Applied Learning Foundation at Activate Learning, added “We are delighted that Alice’s online vocabulary development project caught the eye of the judges. We are sure that giving our more disadvantaged students an opportunity to build a deeper and more challenging vocabulary will have a profound impact on their future success”.

The project will be run as a year-long pilot from September 2018 to September 2019, and follow-on funding is available from SHINE for projects that have the potential to scale up in future.

Fiona Spellman, CEO of SHINE, said: “We received so many applications for Let Teachers SHINE this year and it is so inspiring to see just how many teachers want to go that extra mile to help disadvantaged children achieve their potential. We’re delighted to be able to support these teachers and we’re looking forward to working with them to develop their projects so they can reach many more children beyond their school.”

Ann Mroz, Editor of Tes, adds: “I am incredibly impressed by the standard and quality of the entries this year and every winner has shown innovation and a dedication to improving attainment. Congratulations to all the winners!”

Since August 2000, SHINE has invested more than £25 million into projects that have created opportunities for 400,000 children from more than 6,000 schools to achieve their potential. The winning Let Teachers SHINE programmes make up some of the most dynamic of these projects. This year’s winners will join the 83 teachers supported by the competition so far.

For more information, please visit