Let Teachers SHINE winner 2021: Luke Helstrip – Impact of STEM 7

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A Leeds teacher has won a national competition that backs innovative ideas in education.

Luke Helstrip, a chemistry teacher at Leeds Sixth Form College, has been named as one of eight winners of this year’s Let Teacher’s SHINE contest.

Let Teachers SHINE, run by the education charity SHINE and supported by Tes, awards funding to teachers with brilliant ideas to help disadvantaged students succeed in English, maths or science.

Luke has received £3,000 to fund a project that helps to develop students’ “soft skills”, such as creative thinking, communication, problem solving and collaboration, allowing them to make faster progress in their lessons.

These skills will help the students as they apply for jobs, or university places. They could also help to improve exam results.

“I was raised and educated within an area of high deprivation, so I understand the struggles and lack of knowledge that students face in relation to their applications and own progression through education,” said Luke.

“It’s an issue that has always come up while I’ve been teaching, so it’d be nice to see if I can do something to actually make a change to that.

“When I applied, I wasn’t really expecting to win, or get any sort of funding, but now that we’ve got to this stage, it’s exciting and I’m really ready to get going.”

Luke says he hopes his project will have a big impact on students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

I hope to be able to show that if students are more confident in lessons, they get better attainment.

Luke Helstrip Let Teachers SHINE winner

“I believe it will build their confidence in themselves, and they’ll see they’ve got more worth than they realised.

“I hope to be able to show that if students are more confident in lessons, they get better attainment.”

Helen Rafferty, Interim Chief Executive of SHINE, said: “Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Let Teachers SHINE competition. The awards were held during some of the most challenging times teachers have ever faced, making the quality of the applications all the more impressive.

“Each of the teachers who took part in the competition demonstrated their innovation and commitment to really make a difference to the futures of children from low-income families.

“We look forward to working with the winners to help them develop their ideas and help hundreds of children to succeed at school.”

As well as financial support, SHINE provides Let Teachers SHINE winners with free access to a range of development workshops and coaching opportunities to help develop their ideas.

For a full list of this year’s winners, click here.

Since August 2000, SHINE has invested more than £31 million in projects benefiting almost 1.4 million children from over 20,000 schools.