Hertfordshire science teacher crowned Teacher of the Year

Natalie Wilsher of The Sele School was surprised with the award by Thierry Henry and Saturday Night Football Presenter David Jones.

A science teacher from Hertford has been crowned Teacher of the Year for the Sky Sports Living for Sport programme, part of Sky Academy, delivered in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust. 

The Hertford teacher, who thought she was on a tour of Sky Studios, was surprised with the award whilst watching the presenters’ rehearsals. Broadcast live on Sky Sports News HQ, Thierry switched from discussing Premier League Managers to present Natalie with her trophy.

Natalie is one of thousands of secondary schools teachers running Sky Sports Living for Sport projects throughout the UK and Ireland.

Phil Chamberlain, director of external relations at the Youth Sport Trust, said: “We are proud to work in partnership with Sky Sports in delivering the Sky Sports Living for Sport programme as it helps young people build practical skills and self-confidence. The awards are a great way to recognise and reward the success of students and teachers who take part in the programme.” 

Natalie, who has been running projects for the past seven years, was selected for the award by a panel of judges for her outstanding commitment and creative approach to implementing Sky Sports Living for Sport across the school. The projects have not only improved student’s confidence but also boosted academic performance in areas such as literacy – making reading fun by linking it to football. Natalie was selected from a shortlist of UK and Ireland teachers, all of who have been recognised in this year’s awards.

Sky Academy Ambassador Thierry Henry said, “Natalie’s dedication to Sky Sports Living for Sport over the past seven years is truly fantastic, she is a very worthy winner. The positive impact Natalie and her projects have had on the lives of her students showcase what Sky Sports Living for Sport is all about.” 

On top of her role as a science teacher at The Sele School Natalie voluntarily works with special educational needs, behavioural needs and pupil premium students through Sky Sports Living for Sport. The projects run by Natalie promote confidence, positive thinking and wellbeing through trying new sports from Lacrosse to BMXing. Students taking part have greatly benefited from Natalie’s passion and ability to help them link sporting success with real academic improvement.

The Sele School Head Mr Binder said “Natalie thoroughly deserves this recognition. The impact she’s had on students is life changing, not only raising confidence but also attainment, particular across Science where she uses her own passion for both Science and Sport to enthuse difficult to reach students, helping them to see that they can all achieve. We are really proud of her.”

Sky Sports Living for Sport Senior Athlete Mentor and 2014 UK Pro Halfpipe Champion Mike Mullen who has visited The Sele School said, "I have worked with Natalie at least eight times over the years and every visit has been unique. She has a rare ability as a teacher to find creative ideas to teach science through practical games and tasks. From using a game of tag to demonstrate how our immune system fights pathogens in our bodies, to students trying a BMX trick in class to understand forces in physics. “

“Besides being the first female Lacrosse coach for Wales, she shows great compassion towards the needs of her students especially ones who struggle to cope with school. Natalie shows great knowledge and understanding of students and goes the extra mile in her work and I'm so pleased she has been recognised for her dedication and imagination as a teacher."

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