Let Teachers SHINE winner 2021: Sam Slingsby – Numeracy Bridger

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A Blackpool teacher who works with some of the town’s most vulnerable young people has won funding from the prestigious Let Teachers SHINE competition.

Let Teachers SHINE, run by the education charity SHINE and supported by Tes (The Times Educational Supplement), awards grants to teachers with brilliant ideas to help disadvantaged students succeed in English, maths or science.

Sam Slingsby, from the pupil referral unit Educational Diversity, has received £2,500 to develop a project aimed at improving the numeracy skills of children who are currently below the average for their age.

“I was extremely pleased and proud to take part in a competition like this and to get through to the final,” Sam said.

“I’m hoping this project will prove to make a difference to the children who need supporting the most and make a real impact on their futures.”

Sam had researched programmes that were available that could help his students, but realised they cost more than his school could afford, so he decided to create his own.

The result is Numeracy Bridger, a project that will work with children on a one-on-one basis, developing their basic maths skills.

Sam said he wanted a programme that was “powerful, yet simple,” and that “wasn’t too time consuming or difficult to deliver”.

My passion is to give children the opportunity to develop the fundamental numeracy skills which may have been missed through transience, through lost learning, or have just been forgotten.

Sam Slingsby Let Teachers SHINE winner

The aim of the project is to raise the numeracy age of students. If it is successful, Sam hopes it can be expanded into other schools in the region.

“My passion is to give children the opportunity to develop the fundamental numeracy skills which may have been missed through transience, through lost learning, or have just been forgotten.

“I want them, when they leave school, to be in a position where they can either access a GCSE or a job where they have to work with numbers, maybe in a building site, in a shop floor.

“I’d like for them to be able to cope with numeracy outside of school and try and discourage this feeling that it’s okay to be bad at maths.”

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 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.