Teachers with big ideas are one of the keys to achieving our impact. Our Teacher-led innovation competitions seek out and invest in the most promising Teachers who would otherwise lack the hours or the capital to get their ideas off the ground. Since 2012, we have invested £1.6 million in 73 Teachers across England. Following their first year of support, some Teachers are invited to apply to SHINE for further funding to scale up their projects. Some of the projects that we are currently supporting to expand their reach are detailed below.

Colin Hegarty, HegartyMaths


Colin Hegarty and his co-founder Brian Arnold first established HegartyMaths in 2011, creating a number of online maths tutorial videos with the aim of giving every child free access to world-class maths teaching, no matter what their background, economic position or attitude towards maths. SHINE first started working with Colin and Brian in 2012 with an initial grant to help set up the HegartyMaths website.

Over this time we have supported the team to improve the HegartyMaths website to include:

  • New videos that cover the whole of the new GCSE and A-level maths curriculum
  • Over 60,000 carefully scaffolded questions for students to answer
  • Enhanced functionality that enables Teachers to track individual progress of students.

A snapshot of a late September evening shows that almost 20,000 studetns did their maths revision on HegartyMaths, completing 250,000 questions or 10,000 hours of learning. Last year, Colin Hegarty was shortlisted to the final 10 nominees for the Global Teacher Prize from 20,000 entries and previously won the Pearson national UK award for most innovative use of technology in the classroom.

“The new HegartyMaths is the best system I’ve seen in over 20 years of teaching. As a Head of Department, I can monitor the setting and completion of homework across the Department and monitor the progress of every student.” Teacher

“Why couldn’t HegartyMaths have existed 50 years ago when I was in school?”  Richard Branson

Amanda Poole, Space Camps

Amanda Poole applied to Let Teachers SHINE in 2014 for her Space Camps project. Primary science represents an area of significant need for intervention in the UK, especially for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Space Camps was created through a partnership between SHINE and Amanda Poole, an experienced and inspirational science Teacher in the West Midlands.

Space Camps is an innovative, Teacher-led project where children participate in a range of hands-on Space Science learning activities including practical astronomy. Part of the project involves the delivery of a residential “Space Camp” at the school giving memorable life experiences for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The aim is to empower Teachers to develop their practice so they can enhance their children’s science learning.

In the 2015-16 academic year, nine Space Camps were delivered by seven schools. As a result, 100% of the of Year 6 students at Shrubland Street Primary School are working at or beyond age related expectations in the physics area of the curriculum. A dedicated website has also been developed which is averaging 95 unique visitors a week.

Amanda and her team have won numerous national awards in primary science, and Amanda is currently engaged in a PhD research project investigating the impact of labs in primary schools with the support of The Ogden Trust.

“I loved our Space Camp – it was the longest and best science lesson ever… All schools school have Space Camps – kids will all love them.”

Bruno Reddy, Times Tables Rock Stars

Bruno Reddy is another 2014 Let Teachers SHINE winner, who came up with an innovative and exciting way of addressing the challenges he was facing in his Year 7 maths class, where students would enter secondary school without the fundamentals of maths, such as knowing their times tables. The idea was simple: time the children in answering multiplication questions and award them badges as their times improved. And to add a fun and engaging element, Bruno decided to decorate the classroom in rock posters, play Led Zeppelin while the children are practising and teach whilst wearing a purple glam rock wig.

Times Tables Rock Stars is now an online tool which schools can subscribe to, giving them the resources to encourage and inspire their students to not only learn the basics of the maths curriculum, but to enjoy doing so and develop a love of maths. 320,000 students accessed the site in the 2015-16 academic year, and some Teachers are still downloading the original paper copy which is not included in this figure. A competition element is built into the tool and Bruno has created ways of celebrating the greatest achievers, including an annual Rock Wrangle which brings together hundreds of students from schools across England. The video below shows some highlights of the 2015 event that took place at Bloomberg’s offices in London.

“It’s great to be able to share the programme with other schools and I wouldn’t have been able to do it to the extent that I have without the grant from SHINE. Time will tell but my ambition of reducing the number of students leaving school saying “I hated maths!” could yet come true.” Bruno Reddy

A full list of the projects we’re supporting this year can be found here. Previously supported Let Teachers SHINE projects are detailed here.