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Pearson National Teaching Awards

Teaching Awards Trust

The Brewery, Chiswell Street, London EC1Y 4SD


The Pearson National Teaching Awards are the 'Oscars' of the teaching profession!

The Awards are run by the Teaching Awards Trust to celebrate the impact of invaluable educators across the UK. Supported by Pearson and the BBC, they are the UK’s most prestigious celebration of transformational teaching.

The ceremony is held to highlight the impact of education and to honour inspirational teachers and support staff selected from thousands of nominations. The event consists of a drinks reception followed by a tightly scripted awards ceremony and gala dinner for around 700 guests.

Our brief was to take responsibility for the co-ordination and delivery of all technical production elements of the UK Awards ceremony including video production, set and staging design, room theming, on-screen content design and creation and producing the live event on the day.

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The Challenge

Prior to 2021 the awards had been produced and broadcast by the BBC.

Following the decision by the BBC not to record and broadcast the ceremony but to announce a number of award categories on the BBC One Show, the 2021 ceremony required a re-think in terms of format, location and production.

Having the BBC production team step out of the event left a considerable vacuum for the client team.

The awards featured 15categories of which 7 were announced on the BBC One Show in the week prior to the live ceremony. This created the challenge where some of the nominees knew whether they had won or not prior to the ceremony and therefore missed out on their‘ moment in the spotlight’ at the live ceremony.

One of the main challenges we encountered was the short time frame, with only a few months togo until the live event and many aspects of the event top understand. This required regular communication with the client, precise coordination, and meticulous planning to ensure that everything was ready for award ceremony.

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The Solution

With just a few months to develop a solution, it required a detailed understanding of the primary constraints, duration of venue tenancy, number of awards to be presented, technical production requirements and of course budget.

Having identified the boundaries of the project a draft running order was created following which after several iterations we had a workable programme to share with the venue, technical production and logistics teams.

Working closely with the client team we conceived of a montage of the One Show winners films to open the ceremony and interviews conducted at the winners tables throughout the event to acknowledge and celebrate their achievements.
Blending the serving of dinner with presenting the awards created a less structured, arguably less formal but more fun format. Keeping the programme running to time was the key challenge on the night.

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The Result

We won’t pretend it wasn’t a scary evening and there weren’t a good few lessons learned but virtually all the ‘moments’ were unseen by the client and all were invisible to the guests.

The acid test is sometimes whether the project repeated. Yes, we did it all again in November 2022, this time much more smoothly, calmly and with time to think and plan possibly a bit more creatively.

The 2022 awards were cited by several key sponsors and Trust members as “the best awards” we’ve ever done and we have been reappointed for the 2023 awards.

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Replacing the resources brought to the Awards by the BBC was a significant challenge and placed a considerable strain on our small in-house team. Recruiting the team atBlackberry was a significant decision and helped us to navigate our way to a very successful Awards ceremony.

Mary Palmer, CEO, Teaching Awards Trust