IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


IOE alumna shortlisted for Global Teacher Prize

30 September 2021

UCL Institute of Education (IOE) alumna Cat Davison has been named as a finalist in the 2021 Global Teacher Prize.

Cat Davison

Cat studied the International Development and Education MA part-time (2016-18) alongside work and is currently a teacher and Director of Service and Partnerships at Sevenoaks School, Kent, where her role focuses on active citizenship education. She is also the founder and chair of EduSpots, an organisation which has worked with teachers, students and community members in Ghana and the UK to create and sustain a network of 42 community-led solar-powered libraries, whilst also engaging students in global citizenship education. Today, these centres enable 15,000 people to access educational resources with 300 volunteers creating local solutions to challenges, connecting through WhatsApp, conferences and collaborative training.

Cat is not the first IOE alumna to have been recognised in the Global Teacher Prize, Andria Zafirakou (PGCE Art and Design) won the award in 2018, becoming the first UK winner of the prize.

The Global Teacher Prize is presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession. The award seeks to acknowledge the impacts of the very best teachers on their students and communities.

The prize was set up by the Varkey Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation established to improve the standards of education for underprivileged children throughout the world.

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The winner will receive $1,000,000 prize money. Cat has said that if she does win the prize, she will spend the money connecting and equipping teachers, students and community members keen to lead innovative educational initiatives that involve communities in addressing local and global challenges. EduSpots is already trialling the CLEd (Community Leadership in Education) programme with this aim.

Cat said: “The [Education and International Development] course was so incredibly beneficial to me in the development of EduSpots, my role at Sevenoaks School and all the projects I've been involved in. I am particularly grateful to Amy [North] for her amazing support through my dissertation exploring literacy as a social practice in the rural Ghanaian context, applying postcolonial thinking in analysis. I have used many of the research skills and critical understanding gained since as a teacher and in EduSpots.

“I'm so appreciative for all the insight and inspiration gained, and will use this opportunity to continue to try to advance and gain funding for models of education that enable communities across the world to determine their own futures through education.”

About the course

The Education and International Development MA introduces the concepts of development and educational development, and enables students to assess the role of education in the development process by engaging critically with theory and research. It explores questions posed by social and economic divisions, sustainable development, and the impact of globalisation, and examines relevant contemporary policy issues, with a particular focus on low- and middle-income countries.