‘Inspirational’ St Neots teacher scoops award for her work with maths pupils

Kate Bell alongside former pupil Melissa Quail after winning the award

Kate Bell alongside former pupil Melissa Quail after winning the award - Credit: Archant

A teacher at Longsands Academy has won an award after being nominated by a former student.

Kate Bell, a maths teacher at the school, was nominated by former pupil Melissa Quail, who earned a place at Trinity College, Cambridge last year to study maths.

Melissa said it was her teacher’s involvement that helped her get to where she is.

She added: “[Miss Bell] is so enthusiastic about maths, it was impossible for me not to grow to love it too.”

First year undergraduates at Trinity College are invited to nominate a teacher or careers adviser who particularly inspired their passion for a subject, encouraged them to apply to Cambridge, or supported them through the application process.

Kate set up a fortnightly maths group with students from other schools and worked with Melissa weekly on Maths Olympiad problems.

“These activities were invaluable in improving my maths ability and developing my passion for the subject because there were no other students at my school working on the same types of maths problems as me, so I would have had no-one to discuss maths with,” said Melissa

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She added: “Most importantly, every time that I lost belief in myself, Miss Bell was there to support me and persuade me that I was good enough. I will be forever grateful to her for this.”

Miss Bell was one of three winners of Trinity’s ‘Inspirational Teachers Award’. For each winning teacher, the school received £500 and the student who nominated their teacher received £75 in book tokens.

Evelyn Corney, from Cranbrook Grammar, and Paul Haywood, from Henrietta Barnet School, also won alongside Miss Bell, and were invited to attend a dinner at the college alongside the students.

Trinity’s schools liaison officer, Ellie Wood, said the college was committed to increasing engagement with teachers because of the crucial role they play in encouraging and supporting their pupils to apply to leading universities like Cambridge.

In addition to the Inspirational Teachers Award, Trinity’s Year 11 Stonehouse Residential will this year involve teachers, including sessions designed especially for teachers alongside those attended by the Year 11 students selected.