Imogen Senior, headteacher of St Benedict's Catholic School in Bury St Edmunds, nominated for national School Superheroes award
A Bury St Edmunds headteacher who made daily videos to encourage and support students and parents during the pandemic has been nominated for a national award.
Imogen Senior, head at St Benedict’s Catholic School, is up for a School Superheroes award, part of a campaign by fintech Miconex run alongside Our Bury St Edmunds Business Improvement District.
Mrs Senior was nominated for the award by Debra Peachey, whose daughter Helena transferred to the Beetons Way school when she was in Year 8.
"She really likes the school, has settled in and is doing well academically, which I believe is largely down to Mrs Senior’s leadership at the school," said Debra, who added that Mrs Senior had contributed to a book about inspiring women working in education.
“During lockdown, Mrs Senior recorded a video for Twitter every single day, updating parents on what was happening, and covering any new advice.
"At the end of the video, she would say ‘remember that you are part of something bigger, and we will get through this’.
"Mrs Senior must have been juggling so many balls through lockdown, wading through the new advice coming out to schools, but the commitment she made to keeping parents informed and the reliability of the daily video meant so much to my husband and I.
"We’re both key workers, and not Catholic, but the knowledge that we were part of something bigger, and that reassurance from Mrs Senior, was so valuable to helping us through that time."
She added: “When your child reaches senior school, communication tends to lessen, you don’t go into school as much as in primary school, and don’t know the staff team as well.
"Because of our daughter changing schools, we’d actually only been into St Benedict's once before the lockdown, but thanks to Mrs Senior’s Twitter videos, we built trust and faith in the school.
Debra said she did not know how teachers had coped with the challenges the coronavirus pandemic presented over the last 16 months; from remote learning to returning to school in bubbles.
"By the time of the second lockdown, St Benedict's were offering some live teaching via Teams," she said.
"Because of safeguarding, all of the children’s cameras were off, which meant teachers were talking to blank screens.
"They’ve had to completely change how they work, learning completely new methods of teaching.
"I think everyone working at St Benedict's, and actually at any school, deserves a pat on the back or a virtual hug for their efforts.
“Mrs Senior is a positive role model for the young people in her care and I would like her to know how appreciated she is, and how much her video messages meant during the lockdowns.”
Families have up until August 31 to nominate their school superheroes.
One school superhero will receive a £50 Town and City Gift Card for their choice of over 60 schemes around the UK and Ireland, including the Our Bury St Edmunds Gift Card, with their school or class receiving a £250 cash prize.
The Our Bury St Edmunds Gift Card launched in 2020, and can be spent with around 60 businesses in Bury St Edmunds.
Mark Cordell, chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds, said: "It’s a well-known view that organisational behaviour is led from the very top and it is very heartening to read that Mrs Senior has clearly prioritised communication with parents as a priority during her relatively short tenure.
"The past year has been so challenging for all schools, students and parents and it is clear, from this nomination, that the supportive and informative interaction she has provided is greatly appreciated."
To vote, go to: www.townandcitygiftcards.com/schoolsuperhero