From mighty machines to top teachers

Sherene Garvin-Mack (with mascot Duggy) of Diggerland which is supporting the Kent Teacher of the Year Awards 2018.

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They spend their working day surrounded by the mightiest machines – diggers, excavators, dumper trucks, 4x4s and more.

Now the staff at Kent’s Diggerland theme park are throwing their support behind something even more powerful – the influence of a good teacher.

The award-winning team, who can be found on the Medway Valley Leisure Park in Roman Way, Strood, are backing the Kent Teacher of the Year Awards – because they have developed so much admiration for the profession.

UK marketing manager Sherene Garvin-Mack explained: “We have lots of schools coming to Diggerland, and everything the teachers do is fantastic.

“It’s the way they interact with the children and get them buzzing about something that’s so fun, but also has an educational element – and the nurture they give them too. If a little one’s fallen over, the teacher will be there straightaway to support them.

“This is all about making teaching staff feel valued.”

And she said she had fond memories of her teacher Mrs Hepple from when she was a pupil at Brompton Westbrook Primary School in Gillingham.

“She was absolutely fantastic. Year 4 – when she taught us – was just a really fun year,” Sherene said.

“She was so happy and enthusiastic and warm. When we came in in the morning, we would always get a big ‘hello’. She always made you feel that you could talk to her about anything, and that whatever silly issue you had wasn’t silly.

“And she had a really good balance between education and fun, and ensuring that we had rewards. If the whole class had done their English and maths, she might let you do some drawing in the afternoon.”

The Kent Teacher of the Year Awards are open to nominations for any teacher in the county – and anyone else who does paid or unpaid work in a school. There are a myriad of categories, including primary teacher, secondary teacher, newly qualified teacher, non-teaching staff – such as administrators and bursars – and volunteers, including parent helpers and governors.

Nominations can be submitted by anyone associated with a school including all staff, parents and pupils but entries must be received by the deadline of Thursday, March 1.

A panel of judges will choose winners from each Kent borough plus Bexley and Bromley. The winners will be invited to an awards dinner in May at the Mercure Great Danes Hotel in Maidstone, and will also appear in their local KM Group newspaper and on Kent Online.

The judges include representatives from Kent County Council, Medway Council, the University of Kent, Kent Sport, Canterbury Christ Church University, the University of Greenwich, Three R’s Teacher Recruitment, Medway Youth Trust, Social Enterprise Kent, Beanstalk, the Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, CXK, Salus, LoopCR, and Kreston Reeves.

For more information or to make a nomination, visit www.kentteacheroftheyear.co.uk. Follow the awards on Twitter @KMCharityTeam and #KMTOTY

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