O2 launches the UK's largest classroom

The skills of UK secondary school teachers and their positive effect on young people’s lives will be celebrated and rewarded under a new scheme called O2 Learn which launched today.

By simply uploading video clips of their showcase lessons to www.o2learn.co.uk, teachers will be able to share their gift with secondary school students aged 13-18 throughout the country, and be in with a chance to win from a prize fund of over £300,000.

O2 Learn aims to celebrate UK teaching talent, and the ever-growing selection of lessons will become a rolling teaching resource ‘ a place for teachers to inspire and share a huge range of teaching styles and approaches.

The website will invite students revising for exams or wanting to catch up on missed lessons to search for, watch and then rate the lessons. Every fortnight from November until July 2011, the most watched and best-rated lessons will win £2,000 for the teacher and £2,000 for his or her school. There will be 18 such awards totaling £72,000.

In addition, O2 Learn will assemble an expert panel including members of teaching unions and inspirational head teachers, to shortlist eight of the 18 fortnightly winners to go through to a grand final in the autumn of 2011 where, with the help of the public, they will decide on the winning three UK teachers. The winner of the O2 Learn award will receive £50,000 and a further £100,000 for his/her school. The runner up will win £20,000 and £40,000 for his/her school, and a third prize will also be awarded of £10,000 for the teacher and £20,000 for his/her school.

Gav Thompson, creator of O2 Learn, said: ‘The best teaching inspires young people and changes lives. O2 connects people to the people and things that matter to them. O2 wants to bring together the best teachers in the UK with the millions of young people that want access to the best teaching. That’s why O2 Learn will provide a significant fund to reward and recognise our very best teachers over this academic year.’

‘Their lessons will be accessible to all students for free, whatever their background and aspirations. O2 Learn will create a lasting learning resource that can help young people realise their ambitions. It’s further proof of our commitment to support and champion young people through our Think Big programme.’

Si“n Humphreys, Assistant Secretary (Secondary) at the National Association of Head Teachers said: ‘O2 Learn is a simple idea with huge potential, as recognised by its greatly respected partners in the education sector. Head teachers and school leadership teams do a great deal to support, develop and celebrate the contributions of their teachers, and encouraging them to contribute and reflect on O2 Learn’s content will benefit schools, teachers and students alike.’

O2 Learn launches with the support of four partners – The Teaching Awards, Teach First, Parentline Plus and Teaching Leaders ‘ and seven founder schools, a mixture of independent and state-funded schools, whose teachers have uploaded 100 lessons. The founder schools are:

ú Claires Court Schools, Maidenhead

ú Dr Challoner’s Grammar School, Amersham

ú Eton College, Windsor

ú Langley Academy, Langley, Berkshire

ú Slough and Eton Church of England Business and Enterprise College, Slough

ú Wardle High School, Rochdale, Lancashire

ú Wellington College, Crowthorne, Berkshire

Dr Anthony Seldon, Headmaster at Wellington College, comments: ‘We are committed at Wellington to making our teaching available using all possible means to both our pupils and to other pupils around the UK and the world. We see O2 Learn as one way to help us achieve this, and are very proud to be one of the founder schools’.

Julie Holden, Assistant Head teacher, Wardle High School, Rochdale, said: ‘Our teachers are incredibly enthusiastic to be involved with O2 Learn- using simple technology to great effect. The site is hugely engaging for teachers and students alike as it has independent learning at its core. We’re very proud to be one of the founder schools.’

O2 Learn is part of O2’s Think Big strategy which seeks to inspire young people, and those that help young people, to make a positive change to the community. O2 Learn recognises the crucial role of education and the teaching profession in young people’s lives, providing them with the skills to make their communities better places.

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