Nicky Waller wins RSC Excellence in Primary Education Prize
Nicky is one of the first winners of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s expanded Excellence in Education Prizes, following the biggest overhaul of its recognition portfolio in its history.
Nicky Waller has been awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Excellence in Primary Education Prize and was chosen by the RSC’s prestigious panel of judges as one of the most inspirational, innovative and dedicated people in education. Nicky is one of the first winners of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s expanded Excellence in Education Prizes, following the biggest overhaul of its recognition portfolio in its history.
After receiving the prize, Nicky said: “I could not be more excited to win the Royal Society of Chemistry’s 2021 Excellence in Primary Education Prize. I am extremely passionate about primary science education and I have worked hard to enthuse and support teachers and children over many years and help them to gain confidence and expertise within this subject area. To be recognised at such a high level for me is an absolute honour and a real highlight of my career.”
Dr Helen Pain, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: “Educators are some of the most important people in the sciences, nurturing and inspiring the next generation of talent who ultimately will help us further advance understanding of the world around us and solve some of the immense challenges facing the world today and tomorrow.
“Over the past two years, educators have had to deal with circumstances unlike anything we have seen in living memory; with remote teaching and lack of access to equipment due to COVID restrictions making the sciences a particularly tricky subject to teach. What we have seen is resilience and brilliance – and our winners stand high in a particularly inspiring field of nominees.”
“Mrs Waller has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to chemistry education, and it is our honour to celebrate their considerable contribution.”
The Excellence in Education Prizes celebrate inspirational, innovative, and dedicated people working in primary, secondary, further education and higher education - including teachers, technicians and more. These prizes recognise a wide range of skills - from curriculum design to effective teaching, and from personal development to working culture. This category includes specific prizes for teams and for those in the early stages of their career.
The Royal Society of Chemistry’s prizes have recognised excellence in the chemical sciences for more than 150 years. In 2019, the organisation announced the biggest overhaul of this portfolio in its history, designed to better reflect modern scientific work and culture. For more information about the RSC’s prizes portfolio, visit rsc.li/prizes.
Nicky has been an advisory teacher in the North East for our flagship Children Challenging Industry programme for 17 years, supporting our industry partners to get the most from outreach with primary children including training industry’s scientists and engineers in effective communications with primary children. Nicky makes strong connections between the science that takes place in industry and the primary science curriculum, ensuring that school science has 'real life' relevance and providing a diverse representation of roles within science-related careers.
She also leads teacher CPD at the National STEM Centre on the University of York’s campus, and provides science CPD for primary teachers, and works directly with children in the classroom. Nicky helps devise practical activities which make relevant links between real world applications of science and the primary science curriculum.
Nicky has authored many resources for CIEC as well as having her own book, ‘A Creative Approach to Primary Science’ published by Bloomsbury in 2017. She has previously been recognised by the Institute of Physics with their Primary Science Teacher of the Year for her excellent contribution to primary science teaching in 2016, and by the National STEM Learning Centre with a STEM Educators award at the level of National Expert.
You can see Nicky in action here on a video that she made to share with teachers (scrolling required!) as part of an online conference in 2020.