Champions for Wind enters second year

Second cohort of Redcar-based teachers start the offshore wind careers education programme. 

Second cohort of successful 'Champions' programme

Sofia's secondary school education initiative known as ‘Champions for Wind’ continues into 2022 with five Redcar teachers signing up to be part of the second cohort of the programme which works with them to develop their own subject-specific curriculum materials related to offshore wind.

The teachers from local schools are tasked with designing resources to teach their students – aged from 12 to 18 - about offshore wind and its career opportunities. They join the original five teachers, also from Redcar schools, who are now into the second year of the two-year programme.

To kick-start their involvement in the programme, the teachers visited the construction site where Sofia's onshore converter station is now being built and had presentations from project team members including Matthew Archer, Onshore Converter Station Site Manager and Garrett Roche, Lead Onshore Civil Engineer.

A total of 10 teachers, plus two support teachers, from nine local secondary schools are now officially 'Champions for Wind' working on the development of curriculum materials in subjects including: Science, Engineering, Geography and History, as well as general Careers.

The schools new to the programme are: Outwood Academy Redcar, River Tees Middle, NET Freebrough Academy and Laurence Jackson School Guisborough. One newly appointed teacher is from Redcar and Cleveland College, which already has an existing teacher champion. Other continuing teachers are from Sacred Heart Catholic School, St Peter’s Catholic College, and Archways Educational Service.

Concepts for the newest cohort of teachers’ projects include:

  • Enrichment activities as part of a STEM club and creating resources for a 'careers corner' to enable students to better understand the career opportunities within the renewable sector.
  • A competition to be launched during British Science week to design and build a working wind turbine that can be tested and evaluated.
  • Making links between higher education & the offshore wind industry, to help students to see the links between Higher Education in the North East and local industries.
  • Creating a bank of lessons for pupils attending the Pupil Referral Unit/Alternative Provision that connect with career pathways in the offshore wind energy sector.
  • Science club delivering enrichment about the wind farm project and links to offshore wind careers.
  • A model of the full windfarm setup - like Hornby trainset - which the class started in January.

'Sofia Champions for Wind' is supported by education professionals Mike Cargill and Rich Hurst who will guide the teachers through the programme by providing training and support sessions, ensuring access to up-to-date offshore wind materials and by facilitating visits to the project's construction sites, helping the teachers to enhance the content of their curriculum materials.

The Champions programme will be assessed by an expert team from Teesside University who will conduct entrance and exit surveys with teachers and their students, to monitor changes in knowledge and attitudes and to measure how effective the initiatives have been.

When the teachers have completed their curriculum materials and they have been tried-and-tested in the classrooms, they will be made available for wider use by other teachers and schools.

Teachers from cohort 2 (2021)

Lauren Dawson

River Tees Middle


Kelly-Marie Gardner

Supported by: Sarah Walker

NET Freeborough Academy


Craig Wright

Outwood Academy Redcar

Science and Careers


Josephine Jones

Laurence Jackson School, Guisborough


Mike Reid

Redcar and Cleveland College



Teachers from cohort 1 (2020)

Louise Allison

Supported by: Andrew Hurst

Archway, Horizons Trust

Careers and Science.

Gemma Green

Outwood Bydales Academy

History plus Geography and KS4 Life Programme

Gary Keeys

Redcar & Cleveland College


Anthony Foster

St Peters Catholic College


Malcolm Robertson 

Sacred Heart Catholic College

Engineering/ Careers

At the Champions for Wind site visit are, from left: Harry Bassett (Freeborough Academy), Jo Mitchell (Lawrence Jackson), Rich Hurst (education consultant with Sofia), Alison Westwood (Freeborough Academy) and James Hannaway (Lawrence Jackson).


March 2022