David Baddiel presents MK teacher with 2015 Shine A Light award

MPMC Cordula Hastings and David Baddiel
MPMC Cordula Hastings and David Baddiel

A teacher at Charles Warren Academy in Milton Keynes, has been highly commended for the Communication Champion Award at a glittering award ceremony in London, hosted by comedian David Baddiel.

Cordula Hastings has been praised for her commitment to supporting young people’s speech, language and communication


The 2015 Shine a Light Awards are a national awards scheme organised by Pearson, in partnership with The Communication Trust, to celebrate innovative work, inspirational individuals

and excellent practice in supporting children and young people’s communication development.

Specialist teacher Cordula Hastings works with children who have identified speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), many of whom were permenantly excluded from their previous

schools due to their challenging behaviour.

Cordula supports each of these children as individuals and they make fantastic progress because of her structured and creative approach.

She sets high expectations with clear targets and provides lots of support including creative visual displays in a dedicated ‘Talk About Room’. The children Cordula works with have regained a love

of learning and pride in themselves, meaning that behaviour issues are now a rarity and the children participate fully in school life.

Cordula has been particularly praised for running the school allotment with her pupils. The young people have become experts in vegetables and plant horticulture and have visited other classes

to speak about what they have learnt, increasing their confidence and communication skills.

Children from across the school also have opportunities to work with Cordula, which improves their confidence in communicating and ability to learn in the classroom.

Cordula shares her knowledge with the school’s staff ensuring they use best practice to develop communication skills. She also works closely with parents and carers, hosting regular coffee and

activity sessions where parents can engage with their children’s learning.

Cordula said: “It is an honour and pleasure to receive this recognition which reflects the close team work and dedication as a school to benefit our

wonderful and enthusiastic children.”

David Baddiel said: “Because of the important work that the Shine a Light 2015 winners and highly commended finalists have achieved, children and

young people’s language and communication development, especially for those with SLCN, has been supported. 

“Speech and language problems too often go under the radar, so everyone should not only be congratulated for their work but for bringing this important issue to the attention of others. I

would like to say well done to all those shortlisted who have shown true grit and determination to better themselves and others. They are all a true inspiration - keep up the good work.”

Chris Hall, Director of Clinical Assessment at Pearson, says: “Congratulations to Cordula and Charles Warren Academy for being highly commended for the Communication Champion Award at the 2015 Shine a Light Awards for their remarkable achievements. Each year the applications get stronger and more inspiring. We have seen examples of children and young people being

supported by some truly inspiring schools and individuals like Cordula.

“The Shine a Light Awards, now in their fourth year, continue to grow and we have been delighted to welcome an incredible judging panel who represent the very best of the education

and special educational needs (SEN) sector.”