Maths teacher Ashley Stewart from Newton Moore Senior High School, Bunbury, Western Australia, has been included in the top 50 shortlist for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2020 in partnership with UNESCO. Now in its sixth year, the US$1 million award is the largest prize of its kind and the 2020 winning ceremony will be held in London.
Ashley Stewart was selected from over 12,000 nominations and applications from over 140 countries around the world.
She teaches at a public high school with a 20 per cent indigenous population, where her work focuses on dissolving the gender gap in STEM by boosting girls’ uptake, engagement and achievement.
To help students overcome obstacles to achievement she has focused on upskilling other staff, promoted the introduction of STEM programs for Aboriginal girls, created a spatial training program, and founded an inventors’ club. Twice as many of her students achieve satisfactory grade levels, with her school pulling ahead of comparable institutions in results.
Lower-set students have made huge gains, and staff have seen higher levels of engagement and fewer behavioural issues. As a result, larger numbers of students are taking higher-level mathematics courses, with enrolments doubling in 2020.
Ashley has fielded teams in the International Mathematical Modelling Challenge and, working on the school’s Networking committee, has created partnerships with other Australian schools, the Singapore Chinese Girls School and the Engineering department at a nearby university.
She runs learning sessions for parents to better help their children with maths, and collaborates with teachers at feeder primary schools, running workshops that help them integrate topics such as Lego Robotics into classroom learning.
The Global Teacher Prize was set up to recognize one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society. By unearthing thousands of stories of heroes that have transformed young people’s lives, the prize hopes to bring to life the exceptional work of millions of teachers all over the world.
With 10 years to go to meet UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 - providing a quality education for every child - the Global Teacher Prize has partnered with UNESCO to ensure teachers are right at the top of governments’ agendas.
The winner will be announced live on stage at red carpet ceremony taking place at the Natural History Museum in London on the evening of Monday 12th October 2020.
Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation and the Global Teacher Prize, said: “Congratulations to Ashley Stewart for reaching the final 50. I hope her story inspires those looking to enter the teaching profession and highlights the incredible work teachers do all over the world every day.
“Our recent Global Teacher Status Index finally gives academic proof to something that we’ve always instinctively known: the link between the status of teachers in society and the performance of children in school. Now we can say beyond doubt that respecting teachers isn’t only an important moral duty – it’s essential for a country’s educational outcomes.”
The top 50 shortlisted teachers are narrowed down to 10 finalist teachers by a Prize Committee, with that result announced in June 2020. The winner will then be chosen from these 10 finalists by the Global Teacher Prize Academy. All 10 finalists will be invited to London for the Award ceremony.
Further information about the top 50 shortlist is available here: http://www.globalteacherprize.org.