Pandemic teacher 'hero' wins national award

Esmeralda Salgado of King's Ely wins award

Esmeralda Salgado, head of modern foreign languages (MFL) at King’s Ely, won silver in the ‘Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School’ category. - Credit: King's Ely

An Ely teacher who was instrumental in helping colleagues develop their online teaching skills when the pandemic struck, has won a national teaching award. 

She has been crowned a winner in this year’s Pearson National Teaching Awards. 

Esmeralda Salgado, head of modern foreign languages (MFL) at King’s Ely, won silver in the ‘Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School’ category. 

Esmeralda, who joined King’s Ely in 2009 and has been teaching languages for 20 years, is one of 80 Silver Pearson National Teaching Award winners in the UK. 

She is in the running to win a gold award later in the year.  

Esmeralda, who was presented with her silver award at Ely Cathedral during King’s Ely senior’s prizegiving service, said: “I am truly honoured and humbled to receive this award. 

“It is not only national recognition of my work, my MFL department’s work and my school, King’s Ely’s work, but most importantly, recognition of the hard work, enthusiasm and dedication of all MFL teachers in the country.” 

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Esmeralda, who was born and raised in Albacete, Spain, has taught languages to students from Key Stage 2 through to Key Stage 5.  

Alongside her role as head of MFL, she has been King’s Ely’s digital lead for two years.  

King’s Ely says she is a driving force behind the King’s Ely MFL department, and it is at the core of their teaching and learning steering group. 

Jane Thomas, vice principal academic at King’s Ely, said: “Esmeralda is one of the most talented, committed and positive teachers I have ever worked with.  

“She is an amazing problem solver and has a ‘can do’ attitude to everything. 

“This was brought home to me more than ever when during the January-March lockdown last year she took on the teaching load of a colleague who was off with long Covid. 

“It meant that at times she was teaching classes of 50 + pupils and ensuring they continued to receive quality feedback on all their work.” 

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “Congratulations to Esmeralda Salgado on this incredible achievement, and for the hard work and dedication which led up to it.  

“Winning this award is impressive, well-deserved and shows Esmeralda’s commitment to helping students achieve their full potential.”