Meet the Making the Difference Award winners: Sarah Beeston

Submitted by Connie Maddock | 23/05/2024

As the Making the Difference (MTD) Awards 2024 approaches, Vertas Group is delighted to reflect on the outstanding achievements of last year’s winners, fostering a culture of appreciation.

The highly anticipated annual MTD Awards provide a tangible way to recognise the achievements of colleagues from across the business. Before nominations for the 2024 awards begin, the Group is taking a moment to reflect on the remarkable talent that stole the show last year.

In line with the Group’s people-centric culture, the company is pleased to provide its colleagues with an extra moment of well-deserved recognition.

We spoke to Sarah Beeston, Safeguarding Training Manager at Schools’ Choice, about her experience winning the Specialist of the Year Award. Schools’ Choice, part of Vertas Group, works closely with schools and academies to develop bespoke packages across all phases of learning. Sarah’s triumph at last year’s awards is a testament to her outstanding expertise and extensive knowledge in her subject area. Through her critical approach, Sarah is able to provide careful and considerate advice, she is a true safeguarding star!

You received the Specialist of the Year Award at the MTD Awards – that’s a massive achievement, congratulations! How did it feel to be recognised ?

I felt shocked, very humbled and honoured to be recognised for my contributions. It was a total surprise to have been nominated, and my other shortlisted colleagues in this category are fantastic at their jobs. Celebrating what we have achieved is a great way of saying thank you. 

On a personal note, attending the awards night and seeing the work of other parts of the business also helped me better understand all the great work which happens across the Vertas Group.

Please provide a brief overview of your role. What do you particularly enjoy about working in your specific service area?

I design and deliver safeguarding courses for all staff, governors, trustees and proprietors in education settings. The varied customer base includes all types of schools, nurseries, primaries, high schools, academies, LA maintained, independent schools, alternative provisions and local authority officers. 

It is difficult for a child to learn to their full potential if they don’t feel safe.  It is great to work with so many people who also feel passionate about making sure our children get the best education they can and are kept safe.

My role isn’t just training, I also advise colleagues in the HR team on safeguarding-related matters, as well as going into schools to review safeguarding practices. Working alongside a great team of colleagues makes my role even more enjoyable. 

In your role, do you feel the company values (Sustainable, Consistent, Integrity, Partner, Agility) align with your approach to work? How has this influenced your mindset at work?

The company values definitely align with my approach to work.

We aim to work sustainably and positively impact the education environment by working with customers to enable them to safeguard children. We are consistent in that we are always striving to give an outstanding customer experience at all times. We work in partnership with many organisations, including local safeguarding partnerships and local authorities. Acting with integrity is always essential, as safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility. 

Changes to legislation, government guidance and best practices mean that we must be agile at all times; we continually update our training to ensure it is up to date; for example, one of our courses was updated over 18 times in the last academic year alone.

Vertas Group strive to create a positive and productive work environment. How do the MTD awards and other initiatives contribute to shaping and maintaining a positive company culture?

I think it is human nature to appreciate when someone says thanks or recognises a job well done. The MTD awards and other recognition schemes, such as Vertas Finest, enable people to recognise colleagues for the fantastic work they do. I often nominate people who are not part of my direct team as it helps recognise we are part of one big team. I also encourage other colleagues to make sure they have submitted their nominations, as it can really make people feel valued just to have been nominated.  It’s also great to celebrate when a colleague receives such recognition, congratulating them on their nomination – and hopefully their win!



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