Our Founder is a finalist for the Global Teacher Prize!

The whole EduSpots network is delighted to hear that our Founder, Chair and full-time teacher, Cat Davison, has been shortlisted as a top 50 finalist for the Varkey Foundation’s Global Teacher Prize in partnership with UNESCO.

Following nominations from EduSpots many volunteers, Cat was shortlisted from over 8,000 nominations and applications from 121 countries around the world for this $1 million prize. The Global Teacher Prize was set up to recognise exceptional teachers who have made an outstanding contribution to the profession, as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society.

Early in her teaching career, Cat recognised the role teachers could play in supporting students’ efforts to drive change. She started teaching philosophy and ethics in 2011, engaging students in challenging debates on social justice. Understanding that classroom practice needs to be community-connected to enable students to apply knowledge to the transformation of their worlds, she has committed to a life as a community-centred educator.

Cat’s curricular innovations at Sevenoaks School include ‘Society and Change’, which enables Year 7 to explore charitable ethics and environmental action, and a social leadership programme which enabled students from many local schools to come together for sessions led by active social entrepreneurs. You can see all the student service and partnership projects she has supported through mentoring @sevenoaksimpact. Cat has also led and grown the national Schools Community Action network linked to the Independent Schools Council, suported the development of Invicta Academy and its online catch-up classes, and engaged students across the world in critically reflective global citizenship education through the EduSpots online courses she developed on global development, postcolonial thinking, leadership and action and social entrepreneurship.

Of course, we know Cat best for the role she has taken within EduSpots. Working tirelessly in evening and weekends with teachers and educators across the network since 2014 to create the vision for this organisation which has enabled us to come together to create 42 community-owned libraries, led by a dynamic network of volunteers. In EduSpots, she has truly created a movement for community-led change.

You can read the more about Cat’s journey and the remarkable finalists on the Varkey Foundation website here.

Read a BBC article here and this article in IE-today explores the EduSpots story. You can also listen to a podcast interview here or make a donation in support of EduSpots work here.

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, said:

“Congratulations to Cat for reaching the final 50. Her story clearly highlights the importance of education in tackling the great challenges ahead – from climate change to growing inequality to global pandemics. It is only by prioritising education that we can safeguard all our tomorrows. Education is the key to facing the future with confidence.”

Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director General for Education at UNESCO, said:

“UNESCO is a proud partner of the Global Teacher Prize, which has done so much to highlight teachers’ transformational role in young people’s lives. Inspirational teachers and extraordinary students alike deserve recognition for their commitment to education amid the learning crisis we see today.

“If we are to rebuild a better world in the wake of COVID we must prioritise giving every child their birthright of a quality education. It is the next generation, with teachers as their guide, who will safeguard the future for us all.”

After being shortlisted, Cat commented:

“I feel so humbled and excited to have been selected as a finalist for the Global Teacher Prize alongside such remarkable educators.

I would like thank all the inspiring teachers, students and community educators I’ve worked with. Their commitment to solving local problems through education has been my source of motivation and inspiration, and I’ve learnt so much from them about the power of education to affect social change.

I commit to being an ambassador for all teachers, an advocate for active citizenship education and an ally to those teaching and learning in low-resource settings.”

Teachers who applied for the Global Teacher Prize are assessed on teaching practices, how they innovate to address local challenges, achieve demonstrable learning outcomes, impact the community beyond the classroom, help children become global citizens, improve the teaching profession and gain recognition from external bodies. Following yesterday’s Top 50 announcement, the top 10 finalists of the Global Teacher Prize will be announced in October this year. The winners will be selected by the Global Teacher Prize Academy, made up of prominent individuals.



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