Sunderland College Honoured in National Celebration of Teaching

19 June 2019

Sunderland College’s Music team are celebrating after being honoured with a national Pearson’s Silver Teaching Award for FE Team of the Year.

Selected from thousands of nominations, Sunderland College's Music Team is one of just 68 Silver Award winners across the country who will be celebrated today [19 June], on ‘Thank A Teacher Day’, as the Pearson National Teaching Awards marks its 21st year of celebrating excellence in education.

Ellen Thinnesen, Principal and Chief Executive at Sunderland College said, ‘I’m incredibly proud of our music team.  Tony, John and Janek are dedicated professionals who embody our professional values and strategic goals daily to the benefit of every single student, at a critical time for the future of the arts.’

The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of exceptional teachers, founded in 1998 by Lord Puttnam to recognise the life-changing impact an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of the young people they teach – many of whom go on to train as teachers themselves thanks to the significant impact their teachers have had on them.

The Music Team follow colleague Jonathan Wharton who won Teacher of the Year at the 2018 awards.  The nominated team from Sunderland College have been shortlisted to win one of the 13 Gold Awards at this year’s  “Oscars for Teachers” to be held at the Roundhouse on 20 October 2019 and broadcast

Sheree Rymer, Curriculum Manager at Sunderland College said, ‘I’m delighted that the music team have received this national recognition.  They work day, night and weekends supporting our students and local schools across the city.  They’ve created our very own ‘Rock Emporium’ for local schools, to encourage young people to continue to develop their music skills, with free tuition and use of our amazing facilities at the Arts Academy.  Achieving this award today is a real demonstration of their commitment to both their students, and their profession. ’

The awards are very highly regarded, previous award presenters include former Prime Ministers David Cameron and Tony Blair, acting legends Jenny Agutter, Alison Steadman and Sheila Hancock, as well as sports and TV personalities including Shirley Ballas, Helen Glover, Brendan Cole and Nadiya Hussain.

Today, on ‘Thank A Teacher Day’, and throughout this week the Teaching Awards Trust - the charity that runs the awards - is asking people up and down the country to say “thank you” to a teacher who has made a significant difference in their lives. The Thank A Teacher campaign allows members of the public to send teachers a card in the post for free, by completing an online form and including a personal message. It takes two minutes but has a lasting impact on those exceptional teachers who receive them. 

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson UK, said: “Congratulations to all of our Silver Award winners being presented with a sliver trophy by their students and senior management team today. On Thank A Teacher Day, it’s a wonderful chance for them to say thank you to their award-winning teachers. We mustn’t forget that these students may well be the next generation of teachers, and that’s all thanks to the commitment of those currently in the profession. Recognising and celebrating teachers for the lasting impact they have on young people's lives is crucial, and that’s why Pearson is delighted to support these Awards every year.”

The list of winners will be published at 5pm on Wednesday 19 June.

For more information about Sunderland College visit the next open event, ring 0191 511 6000 or go to