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TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARD: Final shortlisted teachers revealed

This week we spoke to our final two shortlisted teaching stars for our Teacher of the Year award, sponsored by Discovery Education.

Next week, we will reveal the Bury Free Press Teacher of the Year, after receiving more than 430 nominations for teachers who go that extra mile.

Charlotte Loftus is a Year 2 teacher at Abbots Green Academy, in Bury St Edmunds.

Charlotte Loftus with her pupils from Abbots Green Academy. Picture by Mark Westley.
Charlotte Loftus with her pupils from Abbots Green Academy. Picture by Mark Westley.

She has been with the school for two years, before that working at Cedars Park Primary School, in Stowmarket, where she worked for four years.

She said: “I followed our headteacher over to Abbots Green, because of her great leadership.”

One of the things she loves about the school is the ‘rainbow of values’ it encompasses, with each letter signifying a different value, for example R for resilient and A for aspirational. A pupil is chosen each week who has followed all of the values.

“I love, love, love my job,” said Mrs Loftus, “every day is so different. I love how every day I get to see the children, especially in Year 2. I am one of those lucky people who can say I have so much fun.

“When they learn something new that sense of achievement is really fulfilling – you see them grow with you.”

As Mrs Loftus teaches Year 2 she supports the children through SATs.

“It’s a tricky year with SATs,” she said. “I try to reassure them and make it as fun an experience as possible – I call it a quiz. I usually find they love it and show off what they have learnt.”

Will Dexter works as a geography teacher for SET Ixworth School, in Walsham Road.

Mr Dexter, who lives in Pakenham, has worked at the secondary school for almost two years – before this he worked at Thetford Academy in the same role.

“It’s always been secondary for me – I enjoy debates and discussions we can have with the older students,” he said.

One of the nominations Mr Dexter received said: ‘He always engages with us, is extremely laid back and I feel like my peers and I can talk to him about anything.’

In response, Will said: “It’s really lovely to hear I have been nominated.It’s one of the nice things about working in a smaller school, you can build relationships with students, it’s lovely to hear they can come and talk to me.

“It is really sweet to be nominated, I am surprised.

“I didn’t know they would go to the effort to nominate me, it’s lovely to be nominated.

“It is a small school compared to most secondary schools it is heavily academically focused so we can really focus on individual students.

“Ixworth is one of the nicest schools I have worked I get to know each student I know every students name and I can talk to them - it’s a lovely setting to be in.”

  • See next week’s Bury Free Press to see who’s won
Will Dexter, from SET Ixworth with pupils. Picture by Mark Westley.
Will Dexter, from SET Ixworth with pupils. Picture by Mark Westley.

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