Celebrating success with Early Years Course Coordinator Helin


We spoke with Leyton Sixth Form Early Years Course Coordinator and tutor Helin Taylor-Greenfield about winning ‘Teacher of the Year’ at the 2018 Waltham Forest Love Your Borough Awards earlier this year.

Helin was nominated by her second year CACHE Level 3 students, who described her as their ‘college mum’, and were delighted when they heard that she would actually be receiving the award, which recognises those who have made an ‘outstanding contribution to representing the needs and interests of their students’.

 “When they announced my name at the awards ceremony I wasn’t expecting to actually win, I had to be prodded to get up on the stage!

I really see the award as recognising all of our efforts – we’re a small vocational team so to get this kind of recognition fills us with pride.”

Helin’s colleague and fellow Early Years tutor Angie says it was fantastic, but not surprising, to see how far the students were willing to go in order for Helin to be recognised.

“Helin is very dedicated to the students and has a great rapport with the class – she understands that learners don’t come as a package, and that they have individual needs and strengths. The whole team were honoured and thrilled to see Helin recognised for her hard work.”

Helin and Angie are both CACHE trained former practitioners and say that they both see teaching as a way to give something back to the sector.

“We’re passionate about passing on our own knowledge and continuing to learn through CPD. Having the students see us as experienced practitioners adds a really positive dimension to the classroom.”

One of the reasons they enjoy delivering CACHE qualifications, they agree, is that learners are provided with hands-on engaging content that allows them to reflect on their practice and bring it back to the classroom.

“You get to see learners turning into practitioners right in front of your eyes. Often students will come back from placement and will have seen something that has reflected what they’ve learned – and we get to see that lightbulb moment where the learning and practice connects, which is wonderful!.”

They also say that the constantly evolving nature of the qualifications and support is often invaluable, and allows them to keep teaching content “current and engaging” for learners.

“When qualifications are current, it puts you immediately on the right track. Over the years CACHE have always delivered very supportive resource packs, and they’ve only got better over the years.”

The team have had a wide range of positive feedback from placements, with many even offering their learners permanent roles. Helin says one of the reasons for this is that employers see the students as quality early years educators with existing practical knowledge and experience.

They add that the support of the college has been integral to this success, with senior leadership recognising the importance of vocational education and supporting the teaching team every step of the way.

 “For someone teaching on a vocational pathway, having this type of recognition feels fantastic” says Helin, with Angie adding that both the team and the college are extremely proud of one of their teaching staff receiving an award.