Teesside teachers become wind champions

Five more local teachers join Sofia's Champions for Wind careers education programme

  • 31 January 2022

Second cohort of teachers joins the 'Champions' programme

Five Redcar teachers have signed up to be part of the second cohort of Sofia's secondary school education initiative known as ‘Champions for Wind’, which focusses on supporting teachers to develop their own subject-specific curriculum materials related to offshore wind.

The teachers from local schools have been named as ‘champions’, 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 programme.

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 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.

New champion recruit Mike Reid from Redcar and Cleveland College said: "The college is planning on being a regional central hub for clean renewable energy based courses and Sofia is one of the partners in this project, so many engineering lessons are delivered with the local area's future and present career needs in mind".

Also joining the programme, Josephine Jones from Laurence Jackson School said: “I already know of numerous students in Year 11 who are looking to follow a further education pathway linked to renewable energy so they will find a curriculum connected to Sofia Offshore Wind Farm and offshore wind in general, very interesting".

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.

In terms of the Sofia construction, work in Teesside is well underway at the onshore converter station site, adjacent to Wilton International to the north east of Lazenby Village, while work on the cable route from the coast between Marske-by-the-Sea and Redcar to the Wilton site is due to begin next month.

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



January 2022