The Sylvia Sutcliffe award for Religious Studies

September 16, 2015

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Sylvia Sutcliffe was a Deputy Principal and RS teacher for a number of years, before falling ill and losing her life to cancer at the age of 47. She was an inspirational teacher and had a thirst for getting to know people and how to get the best out of them. Sylvia was passionate about supporting young people and enabling them to be the best they could be.

Spurred on by her love of teaching RS and her love for humanity, she encouraged young people to spend time looking at the world from someone else’s point of view, in a bid to nurture tolerance and understanding. She was fascinated by different ways of life and what made people tick, whilst underneath knowing we are all the same.

When she was really ill, Sylvia donated a shield to the RS department to be awarded annually in recognition of the student who best demonstrated tolerance, understanding and empathy through their studies.

Claudia, in Year 9, has been presented this very special award in assembly this week, for showing superb commitment and application to her RS work throughout the whole of last year. Her ability to articulate and develop her thinking, whilst incorporating that into extended pieces of writing, came as a result of Claudia becoming inspired by the studying the life of Anne Frank. She showed a special insight into the strength that can be achieved through religious belief, particularly in extremely challenging circumstances, and reflected on the impact of this in her own beliefs and values.

Justine Mason, Principal, said, “Sylvia hated using labels because she really felt that limited people. She was a strong believer in equal opportunities and seeing people as individuals, rather than as a stereotype, an ethos that our students are familiar with at Hele’s School. It fills me with great pride to present the Sylvia Sutcliffe Award for Religious Studies to Claudia, who has embodied the values and attitudes that Sylvia held so dear to her heart. I know that Sylvia would share my pride”.

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