Exceptional Education at the Heart of the Community

Two of our local stars shine in the KM Teacher of the Year Awards in Kent

Two of our local stars shine in the KM Teacher of the Year Awards in Kent

We want to wish a massive congratulations to Paul Murray at Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey (OAIOS) and Claire Dysart at Oasis Academy Skinner Street (OASS) for winning their categories at the KM Kent Teacher of the Year Awards. 

Established to mark the vital contribution that teaching staff make to not only their school but the local community, the Kent Teacher of the Year Awards is now in its 21st year and recognises the expertise and dedication that create the hallmark of an outstanding teacher.

The panel of judges comprised of local organisations select winners from local areas and allocate awards to staff in several categories including primary, secondary, and newly qualified teachers (NQT), as well as non-teaching staff and volunteer awards. Funds raised during the awards evening go towards literacy and road safety projects across Kent and the rest of the UK.

Oasis Academy Skinner Street

Despite knowing of her nomination since September, Miss Claire Dysart, Deputy Head and Inclusions Lead at OASS in Gillingham, was presented with her award for 'Wellbeing Champion of the Year' for Medway, at the ceremony on Friday, hosted at the prestigious Ashford International Hotel.

During her 5 years at Oasis Academy Skinner Street, Claire has contributed her unique skills and professional experience to the primary academy. Claire’s award comes in recognition of her incredible work as firstly a SENCo (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) at the academy, then Inclusions Lead and Trauma-Informed Practice Champion. She describes her main responsibility as “ensuring all pupils are in a place where they are safe, secure, listened to and ready to become well rounded citizens when they leave Oasis Academy Skinner Street”.

Principal of the academy, Victoria Richmond, describes how  Claire “has transformed the SEND (Special Educational Needs Department) provision at the academy and led the way with trauma-informed practice to ensure all staff are able to understand the needs of children at the academy. She is a foundation block of our academy.”

Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey

In a year where the education sector has felt the strain more than ever before, with teachers under immeasurable pressure to educate, inspire, motivate, and even feed their students, recognition of those who go the extra mile seemed to have a special significance this year and brings to light the work of the second award recipient, Mr Paul Murray of OAIOS.

Working within a unique community on the Isle of Sheppey,  our Head of Community Hub Mr Murray collected the national award ‘Special Award for Raising Aspirations’ at the ceremony on Friday. Paul’s story is a unique one to tell as he has taught a plethora of subjects in schools on the Isle of Sheppey since starting his teaching career in 1975, and has been a part of our academy family since its opening in 2009.

Paul’s contribution to the students he works with and the community he serves is almost too great to categorise. His weeks consist of attending community meetings of which he sits on the board, pitching for funds from local councils for community projects like the Sheppey Support Bus, and independently delivering food parcels to 170 families in need all over the island, a task he took on full-time during the lockdown of 2020. Humble as ever, Paul told us he accepts his award “on behalf of our exceptional students at the academy, who work hard to overcome the many challenges they face and who regularly give up their spare time to volunteer and help local people in their community.”

Paul was also keen to share the glory as he wanted to recognise, “the support of my wife Mag, who despite now being retired is still committed to ensuring our students and local community have every opportunity the deserve, and the staff at Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey who work incredibly hard every day.

Hannah Skinner