One of the original purposes of the medieval guilds, the precursors of livery Companies, was for charity, funded by members giving what they could. This ancient tradition continues today in all the 110 Companies of the City of London. Together they donate £40 million to charities each year.
The Worshipful Company of Educators is no exception. Charitable activity is at the heart of our values. We are dedicated to support the profession of educator that is all those professionals who contribute to creating a stimulating, diverse and supportive environment in which people learn and enrich their lives. We celebrate outstanding innovation and excellence in educational practice primarily through awards and bursaries to individual educators
The Company set up the Educators’ Trust to fund an awards programme and a Board of Trustees to manage its charitable funds and develop its charitable activities. The Trust receives no grants from government and is funded by the generous donations and legacies of Freemen and Liverymen of the Company and from other individuals and organisations which share its belief in the transformative power of education.
Currently the Trust has 22 awards – prizes and bursaries – which it confers on professional educators every year. The awards include all levels of education – from early years to research institutes – and all settings in which learning takes place – from educational institutions to art galleries, theatres, outdoors and community spaces. Some are dedicated to particular fields of education, such as art, military education, business and performing arts. In addition, every year the Trustees choose a theme for a competitive award, ‘The Inspirational Educator Award’ for which there are eight winning places. In recent years, the themes have included ICT in Teaching and Learning, Special Needs and Disability, prison education, hospital education, teaching Shakespeare and environmental education. We also fund awards in partnership with other organisations, for example for vocational education with City and Guilds and prison education with the Prisoners’ Education Trust.
The winners are normally celebrated at a glittering annual awards dinner around Eastertime in a splendid City livery hall where they are presented with an inscribed crystal plaque, a certificate, a cheque to the value of their prize or bursary and a souvenir booklet containing citations for every winner. Of course, this was not possible in 2020 nor 2021 because of the pandemic.
Following the Awards Dinner in the summer, we normally also hold a public seminar in a prestigious City venue, where selected winners of the Inspirational Educator Award present examples of their excellent practice alongside a panel of acknowledged experts in their field. However, in 2021, we took to the air in a terrific online event, called ‘Round England Tour of Environmental Education Hotspots’ showcasing all eight winners in the environmental education category from all over England. Through video clips, photographs, film and artwork, we virtually visited tutors, children, students and communities learning about wildfowl in Gloucestershire wetlands, geocaching and foraging on Cornish beaches, experiencing first hand animal husbandry and food production in a farm school in Hythe, Kent, and growing and harvesting vegetables, fruit and flowers in a primary school in South Yorkshire, not to mention the exciting urban environmental work in the very green heart of London It was great fun!
“You can watch a recording of the event by clicking the link below.”
We work closely with relevant educational establishments and educational charities for nominations for our awards. We do not accept unsolicited applications for awards or requests for financial support for general projects. From Autumn 2021, a new grants fund will be launched to support the professional development of educators to which individual practitioners from anywhere in the country will be able to apply.