Tameside teacher earns national award

A TAMESIDE school’s chemistry teacher has received a national award and funding for his ambitious new project which uses videos to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds with their science GCSE.

Jon Blackbourn, creator of Revise Chemistry with Mr B, is one of eight winners of this year’s Let Teachers SHINE competition, which is run each year by education charity SHINE to back inspirational teachers and their ideas.

The YouTube hit, who by day teaches at Fairfield High School for Girls in Droylsden, has already racked up thousands of views across YouTube and TikTok.

And his recognition backs up his belief that video lessons can serve as a valuable alternative for students who are unable to afford private tuition leading up to their exams.

He said: “In December, I had 140 subscribers and 3,000 views, whereas now, I’m proud to say that my channel has grown to 300 subscribers and 20,000 views.

“I also set up a TikTok account with the purpose of directing more traffic to my YouTube channel, and it has been gaining significant traction. The first video I made gained over 3,000 views in the first 24 hours.

Jon Blackbourn

“Ultimately, my vision is for my channel to become the primary destination for children seeking to revise chemistry.

“I’ve even heard a few science teachers have used it to showcase experiments that would otherwise be impractical to conduct themselves.

“They can then present the experiments to their students and foster a more engaging and interactive learning environment.

“Initially, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email informing me that I had been shortlisted for an interview. It was a humbling experience.

“Upon learning that I had been selected as one of this year’s winners, I was overjoyed.

“I left the interview feeling optimistic about the potential impact of the funding and recognised that it would be immensely valuable in making a significant difference.”

“To have SHINE express their confidence in my project through their funding is a tremendous affirmation.

“I’m equally thrilled about the training opportunities that SHINE provides and eager to collaborate with other SHINE teachers.”

Jon’s videos are not thrown on willy-nilly. They are structured in a logical sequence, with GCSE topics carefully organised, ensuring new concepts are built upon prior knowledge.

And he is planning to spend the funding he has been awarded through Let Teachers SHINE on both equipment and tuition for his students.

Not bad for someone who is entirely self-taught.

He added: “The creative process involved in the project has been a refreshing change, as science teachers don’t always get a chance to do something like this!

“What I’m finding is that numerous students are utilising it to prepare for their exams, consolidate their learning, and even gain background knowledge prior to their lessons.

“Beyond that, it has been a lifeline for those unable to attend school due to physical or mental health issues, providing them with a valuable resource for their education.

“I’m aiming to cover the entirety of the GCSE course. Initially, I planned to release a video each week to support my Year 11 students, but my enthusiasm has led me to create over a hundred videos already!

“I’ve been fortunate to receive lots of positive feedback from students and teachers, and I’m delighted with the natural progression my channel has made thus far.

SHINE’s interim chief executive, Dr Helen Rafferty, said: “Jon is a brilliant example of the inspirational teachers that SHINE is backing right across the north of England.

“His passion both for chemistry and for children is infectious and we are delighted to be able to support the next stage of his journey in helping reach more students with much-needed support.”

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