Top of the Class
Top of the Class. Award-winning teacher from cumbria honoured in new photography exhibition.
An inspiring new photography exhibition celebrating the achievements of some of the UK’s most inspiring educators will feature Matthew Jessop of Crosthwaite CofE School, recognising the impressive contributions they have made for their students and the wider school community.
The exhibition entitled ‘The Gallery of Greats’ was created by the charity The Teaching Awards Trust to celebrate its 25th anniversary. It is being delivered in collaboration with photographer and part-time teacher, Donna Bridgewater, and Pearson, the world’s leading learning company. The exhibition will take place at All is Joy Gallery, 75 Dean Street, London on 13 November 2023 for one day only.
Matthew is a visionary head teacher leading a unique school where he ensures students learn and grow in harmony with one another and with nature.
Matthew and his staff, alongside the community, operate an extraordinary farm where they nurture young minds through nature. The school boasts alpacas, sheep, and an array of quirky hens. Their school garden includes fruits and veg tended to by the students during school hours and after school clubs. At their annual Harvest lunch, the school community feasted on homegrown delights like garden tomato soup, shepherd’s pie made with school-raised lamb, and dessert featuring apple pie using apples picked from a nearby farm with garden damson ice-cream.
Each ‘The Gallery of the Greats’ portrait captures educators in their natural environments, highlighting their dedication and passion for shaping the lives of young people. Matthew is pictured with students and the resident school lizard.
The striking collection tells the story of 10 inspiring educators from across the UK, all of whom have been shortlisted to win a Gold Award at this year’s Pearson National Teaching Awards, which will be announced and celebrated at a glittering Awards ceremony on 25 November and showcased on BBC’s The One Show from 20th – 24th November.
Sharon Hague, Managing Director of Schools at Pearson says:
“On the 25th anniversary of the Teaching Awards Trust, this exhibition is a touching visual representation of the inspiring contribution made by educators up and down the country on a daily basis. We’d like to congratulate the Teaching Awards Trust on its 25th anniversary; it’s a privilege to sponsor and support the work they do to celebrate and uplift our nation’s teachers.”
Mary Palmer, CEO of the Teaching Awards Trust says:
“At the Teaching Awards Trust, our mission is to celebrate and value the impact of education and highlight the life-changing influence educators and school leaders have. This exhibition visually showcases the impact teachers have on pupils and the innovation and enthusiasm they bring to the classroom day in and day out. We are delighted to work with Donna and All is Joy to bring the Gallery of Greats to life and provide a reminder to people of the important role teachers play in everyday life.”
Matthew Jessop says:
“Since joining Crosthwaite, myself and my team have made some positive changes that have both nurtured students in their development and which have made the school the hub of our lovely community. We’re empowering students everyday, whether that’s through our unique farm and garden or through the IT and technology we’ve introduced to support students in their development. I was delighted to hear that I had been shortlisted for one of the Pearson National Teaching Awards and grateful for the opportunity to share this achievement with more people through this exhibition”.
Donna Bridgewater, whose photography is being exhibited, is a teacher herself at a specialist college in Coventry where she witnesses the positive impact of great teaching daily. This inspiration led her to embark on this latest project to photograph a diverse range of educators who represent the pinnacle of their profession.
“I was truly inspired by all the teachers I met and photographed. I hope my work gives visitors a rare insight into the daily routines of the education profession, whilst conveying the enthusiasm, expertise, and nurturing environment educators create every day. I knew my final portraits would be a genuine reflection of the very best educators in the UK. Although I’m a teacher myself, getting to know the people I photographed has opened my eyes to the enormous breadth of responsibility they take on, and the incredible ways they can change young lives for the better.”
Recently shortlisted for the Royal Photographic Society’s International Photography Exhibition 165, Donna’s photography business started in 2018 with funding from the Prince’s Trust.