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Golden Apple Spotlight: Cherry Tingle

Our principle, Cherry Tingle, is a finalist for the Golden Apple Best Education and Learning Leader. Here is a look into what she's done to make us nominate her for this award.

Cherry Tingle joined the Energy Coast UTC team in September 2016 and has lead us forward with some dramatic improvements. Her leadership has inspired the whole team at the UTC, from the staff and students to the parents and governors; inspiration that is now being recognised at a national level.


Originally from Leeds, Cherry started out her working life in Pathology and after she had children retrained as a teacher. She started teaching in Liverpool before working as head of science, deputy head and then headteacher, having successfully led two schools and worked in a national school improvement role before coming to Cumbria.

Her effect on the college was even recognised by Ofsted after only 6 months;

“According to staff, pupils, parents and inspection evidence, the new principal has transformed the college . . . [Ms Tingle] has wasted no time in improving all aspects of the college quickly. The impact of her work can be seen in improving teaching, pupils’ achievement and attendance.”  The report also stated that “parents, pupils and staff are united in the view that the college is very much improved because of the excellent work of the current Principal”.

Her efforts have also had a huge effect on the exam results of the college, with the GCSE pass rates increasing by over 20%. A Level and BTEC results are also steadily improving, with this year’s results including such notable successes as Charles Minshaw’s two A* grades, one B and two C’s and Sam Wilson’s A*, two A’s and two C’s. Our Sixth form students have also flourished by securing highly coveted apprenticeships, such as Sam Wilson and Talisker Hodgkins-Webb’s apprenticeships with Formula One racing teams and Niamh Nelson achieving her lifelong dream of a Royal Navy apprenticeship. These apprenticeships are no outliers, with 88% of students in 2017 going on to apprenticeships, a staggering 82% higher than local and national averages and the remainder going into work or higher education, with none being not in education, employment or training.

These fantastic results mean that under Cherry’s leadership, the Energy Coast UTC has risen from near the bottom of the local and national results table to being in the top percentage nationally and at the top locally. We are also now recognised as the second best UTC in the whole country and our inspiring results have even come to the attention of the government, where the Energy Coast UTC was recently cited by Lord Baker in the House of Lords as an excellent example of technical education providing outstanding apprenticeships for young people.

Cherry is known for spending long hours at the UTC, week in and week out, and is dedicated to making us the best school we can be, where every student succeeds, but even dedicated Principals have to have hobbies! During her spare time, which she has precious little of since joining the UTC, she is a passionate swimmer, enjoying regular dips in the Lakes, even in winter! Sometimes, just before walking up a fell! She also does silversmithing as a hobby and regularly makes earrings, bangles and more – she even leads a community club based at the UTC where people can make silver jewellery.

All of our recent achievements would not have been possible without Cherry at the helm of the UTC. Day in and day out, she continues to inspire dedication in her staff and students alike, driving us to do everything we can to inspire our students to achieve anything they aspire to.


“Ms Tingle has only been at our school for about 18 months but during that time our school has gone from being a disorganised jumble to a fantastic school where we learn well in every lesson. But she is better than that. She has time for all of us, every one of us, every day. We now have fantastic lessons, great behaviour in school and know we will get great results and its all because of her. But we can go and see her whenever we want, about anything and she will always listen. She makes us believe we can.”

Year 12 student

“In a very short space of time, Cherry Tingle has made a huge impact, working tirelessly to make a difference.  She was recruited at a time when the UTC was facing huge difficulties, in every single area – staffing, recruitment, results, finance – literally everything.  Hitting the ground running, even before she actually started in the role, she had to make some difficult decisions, but has been able to do so whilst maintaining the support of all students and all staff alike.  She has now ensured student results are fantastic too. She is an inspiring and empathetic leader who always, whatever the personal cost, makes time for everyone – absolutely everyone. She is an exceptional role model. Her leadership has made a massively positive difference to life chances for students and to the working environment for staff.”

Kerryann Wilson, Director of Learning and English teacher

“Cherry has revolutionised the UTC. I see evidence of her abilities in a range of different environments, engaging with industry, engaging with Ofsted, and engaging with the ESFA.  She leads in all of these situations, but at the same time, is able to interact and inspire at an individual level with students, parents and teachers alike.  I don’t believe that there could be any school leaders in this country that could highlight greater progress and improvement at both an institutional and individual student level and it is progress and improvement that will keep a school strong. She also gives freely of her time and supports numerous other UTCs nationally – as an example she has just arranged a large part of a national conference in July 18 for all UTC Principals and Governors. “

 Beccy Pleasant, Governor

"The progress that the UTC has made since Cherry joined is unprecedented. She has led from the top transforming the UTC in all aspects of results, teaching and governance. Her leadership is inspiring and impactful and she has the respect of everyone within school and anyone who interacts with the UTC. I have every confidence that under Cherry’s leadership the ECUTC will continue its journey towards excellence, giving young Cumbrian based learners a fantastic learning experience enabling them to enter the world of work." - 

Donna Connor, Vice Chair of Governors

“Cherry has had an exceptionally positive impact on the UTC since joining the school and in the process has significantly improved the prospects of both the school, and its pupils. She has addressed every aspect of the school, from student results, financial viability to the structure of the curriculum, and the Governing Body has in turn become more engaged, involved and confident than previously. Staff are motivated and clear about what is expected of them, and are being given the tools to enable them to perform to the highest standards. Pupils know the standards expected of them, respect Cherry and her staff, and are optimistic about their future. Cherry really is an exceptional Principal and we are lucky to have her at the UTC.”

Barbara Stephens, Chair of Governors

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