THE finalists for the Best Educational Professional Newcomers award have been recognised for all their hard work and dedicated time to help improve youngsters learning.

Kingmoor Junior, year three teacher Alex Graham has been nominated in the award for her enthusiasm that was engendered by the Sock Olympics which she started during lockdown as the school was concerned the children weren’t going to get a sports day.

The sock Olympics looks at eight different events all using your socks. This could be accessed at home or in school bubbles so everyone could participate no matter what their ability.

Alex posted about her initiative on Twitter, and it soon went viral with school globally running the idea.

Alex said: “I’m obviously really honoured and proud that so early on in my career I’ve managed to be nominated for something.

“Sport is definitely my passion and encouraging children to keep active for the rest of their lives is definitely something I want to focus on and try moving up in leadership within the next five years.

“I’d like to thank my neighbour for nominating me for the award, he has followed my journey online until now. He always asked how I was doing and supported my Sock Olympics, I really appreciate that.”

Lakes College teacher Rebecca Lock is another nominee in the award for her proactive to digital delivery.

Rebecca engaged well with learners to meet their flexible needs and creating a range of solutions to encourage participants resulting in very good progress from learners.

Rebecca has also been involved with the college’s apprenticeship provision where she worked well with learners and employers ensuring learners are progressing.

Rebecca said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be recognised.

“During lockdown, I think like the entire work force we had some systems in place, but it was all system goes – we all had to quickly adapt to it so I took it as anyone did really. It was a challenge but a little bit exciting too.

“I like the classroom experience and passing my knowledge on, it’s really nice and fulfilling to see those learners who don’t really have self-belief and helping them develop that confidence.”

Another nominee is The Whitehaven Academy, Science teacher, Oliver Stewart who was nominated by his colleagues at the school.

The Whitehaven Academy headteacher Nigel Youngman said: “Ollie has captured the imagination of his learners and anybody who walks into a room where Ollie is teaching, is struck by the mutual respect, passionate subject knowledge and the rich creativity. There is a buzz.

Oliver: said “I’m a little bit shocked but it was a really nice and pleasant surprise, I’m really honoured to be nominated and to have won.

“My journey has been the most challenging thing of my life, I’m on the teach first graduate programme so the idea of the scheme is to put you in a underperforming school and you teach from day one after about four weeks of training.

“What the school is doing for science is fantastic, we are giving students everything we have got, we have so many opportunities for them and it’s great.”