Darlaston Teacher Wins National Competition

A Darlaston teacher has been selected as a winner in a national competition launched by construction toy company K’NEX.
A Darlaston teacher has been selected as a winner in a national competition launched by construction toy company K’NEX.

K’NEX is used in classrooms across the UK to bring to life Science, Engineering, Technology and Maths (STEM) concepts, and the Teachers Build Futures campaign asks pupils to nominate teachers who make learning fun.

Mr Paul Waterhouse, a Teacher and Head of the Aspire programme at Grace Academy Darlaston, was nominated for the Award by a group of pupils at the Academy. Students explained in their entry:

“Mr Waterhouse likes to add his creative skills to make lessons more fun than they should be! Because of this, students who usually misbehave are very creative and thoughtful for the whole lesson. He even helped us set up a group called K’NEX Aspire and a YouTube channel to show what we build. He is a great teacher because he shows kindness to all the students at Grace Academy.”

The K’NEX project at Grace Academy Darlaston was developed by the Aspire programme which gives extra support to students in Literacy and Maths. Students have been arriving early at school for the K’NEX club and meeting at break times and lunchtimes to make models, write scripts, and put videos together to help with their literacy and team-work skills. The videos are then hosted on the Academy’s new K’NEX Aspire YouTube channel to showcase their construction achievements and give out guidelines on how to make their models.

Mr Waterhouse was surprised during a school assembly when it was revealed he had won the Teachers Build Futures competition. Just afterwards, he said:

“I spend a lot of time with the students in Aspire at Grace Academy Darlaston, and for them to show their appreciation in this way is very special and unexpected. The students who nominated me for this competition are a credit to the school and I am very proud of them all. It’s a real privilege to spend time with such wonderful young adults every day who show respect for others, value their education and build life up rather than tear it down.”

Mr Waterhouse was presented with toys that his pupils will be able to enjoy building as a team, including a K’NEX Typhoon Frenzy coaster and a K’NEX 70 Model Ultimate Building Set.

Nominations are open until the end of July, with a winner picked every month. Post your nomination on the K’NEX UK Facebook wall, tweet it to @KNEXUK or email teachersbuildfutures@knex.com.