A Sheffield Hallam University academic is celebrating success after she was honoured with a prestigious national teaching award.

Sally Pearse has been announced as one of 54 national teaching fellows by Advance HE, which aims to enhance teaching provision in higher education.

The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) celebrates and recognises individuals who have made an ‘outstanding impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession in higher education’.

Sally, who is a principal lecturer and head of early years education at the university’s Institute of Education, was recognised for her work to coordinate and improve early years education activity throughout the Sheffield City Region.

She said: “I was absolutely thrilled to hear that I had been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship. Since taking up a post in Teacher Education at Sheffield Hallam University I have incorporated the lessons I learned during my career in trade union activism, community development and early years education and care into my teaching in HE.

“These include the importance of authentic relationships, collaboration and true partnerships. The benefits and rewards of this ethical approach have been reflected in the strong relationships we have with settings, the feedback from trainees and the ‘Outstanding’ grade we received from Ofsted last year.”

Sally leads the early years education provision within South Yorkshire Futures – a programme of activities created by Sheffield Hallam University to improve school attainment and raise the aspirations of young people in South Yorkshire, especially among those from disadvantaged communities.

Her role within South Yorkshire Futures includes helping those from less well-off socio-economic backgrounds to improve attainment levels so that children are not disadvantaged when they start school.

Priorities include setting up a research nursery and a regional working group to look at how early years provision can be improved; helping parents support their children and improving staffing in early years settings.

Sally added: “The National Teaching Fellowship award really is the icing on the cake. In my current role as the early years lead for South Yorkshire Futures I will continue to use this collaborative approach with partners to build a strong regional approach to early years to support our children and families.”