A quick note on the TES teacher blogger of the year award

April 15, 2016

I do my best to help promote education bloggers. For this reason, I tend to be more positive about blogging awards than most. Recently, I did my best to encourage nominations for the TES award for teacher bloggers. I then took it all back when I saw from her Twitter feed that shortlisting was being done by Natasha Devon, who had a history of being insulting to bloggers in tweets and blogs and who appeared to have no understanding or familiarity with teacher blogs beyond being offended by them. The sense that the awards were not taking blogging seriously was made worse by a nomination process that involved uploading 3 articles from blogs, as if the judges would not even be bothering to browse through the blogs that were nominated.

The editor of the TES then jumped in to say that actually there was another shortlister, and although they weren’t named, the implication was that they might know what they are doing. And sure enough, the final shortlist of 8 does indeed consist of 4 blogs that I cannot imagine Natasha Devon choosing, and 4 blogs which I can imagine her choosing. And I’d probably just leave it there, but I can’t resist pointing out what happens when somebody who is unfamiliar with blogging is given this sort of responsibility. At least one of the shortlisters failed to notice that some of the nominations don’t seem to comply with the entry guidelines.

The entry guidelines state the following:

  • These awards celebrate achievements during the 2014-2015 academic year and are open to all state and independent primary and secondary schools in the UK
  • We will accept submissions based on projects, initiatives or endeavours that commenced prior to the 2014-2015 academic year, provided that core achievements have taken place during this main period of focus. We will also accept any evidence that has come to light after the close of the 2014-2015 academic year if this further underlines success

And yet, when I look at the list of bloggers nominated I see that there is one blogger whose blog has no posts from before October 2015, and another whose only “blog” I can find is actually made up of unsyndicated articles on the TES website with no posts from before January 2016.

Of course, these bloggers may have been active somewhere else, (I think one of them had a site that is now defunct that was around from May 2015) but it does seem a little odd that anyone could be nominated as the best teacher blogger for their achievements in the 2014-2015 academic year, and even I cannot find a regular blog with any posts dated from that period. Could it possibly be the case that there was a shortlister who doesn’t understand how blogs work?

Update 15/4/2016: I’ve now heard from a couple of nominees that this year they are expected to pay £180 just to attend. Last year we were, as you’d expect, invited to attend for free. I do hope this is a mistake as this would make the whole thing seem like an utter rip-off.

Update 15/4/2016 but slightly later: In a not altogether surprising turn of events, and following a few hours of Twitter ridicule, the TES have now said that this was all a misunderstanding and the nominated bloggers will go for free.

Congratulations, to you all, and have fun.




  1. Wow! That is all I can say!

  2. Reblogged this on The Echo Chamber.

  3. A few years back I rather foolishly nominated my school website for a TES award. The then editor, a chap called Gerald Kelly was rather insulting saying our website linked to ads about porn and women’s dresses. Which baffled me so I checked. Well would you believe it but apparently google ads appear based on YOUR browsing history not my schools Mr K! And furthermore they didn;t appear on our website but did at the side when you searched in google for our website! I also pointed out that the winners and most of the commended/runners up were professional sites built for huge sums of money by web design companies whereas ours and many others are built, edited and run by the kids. I got a grudging apology but also a refusal to put our site forward. I think it rather typifies the attitude at TES…..

  4. […] and shortlisting for TES’s teacher blogger of the year award (the shortlisting part of which appears to have been done rather badly) mainly dealing with her habit of being insulting about bloggers. Mainly she was just abusive […]

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