Photo of Kate Sowter

Kate Sowter

Kate has been nominated by Liz Wright, a nominee in our Diversity-Driven Organisation category. Liz says “Kate works in education, teaching and helping children grow both academically and in character and confidence. As a primary school specialist, she’s taught across the key stages and all subject areas.

Moving from London as an Assistant Head after five years, Kate started in a central York Primary as Deputy Head and it was in her position as a year 6 teacher that I first met her. She’d asked me to come and speak to her pupils and the enthusiasm, passion, and love she has for children was candidly obvious.

From then onwards, Kate has been a fantastic friend and an inspiration to myself and others who work in education. This inspiration has grown into admiration as I have watched her move in a role as Primary CPD Coordinator at Pathfinder Teaching School Alliance. It’s in this role that Kate’s passion for education, pupils, and staff has developed towards a focus on mental health, resulting in Kate’s first mental health and wellbeing conference for schools in the York area.

Who will the initiative help/who has it helped already?

The first ‘Let’s Talk About…. Mental Health’ conference was held in York in 2016 where Kate gathered experts in mental health to ensure that the educators attending could have access to the newest and most relevant knowledge to take back to their schools.

The second ‘Let’s Talk About…. Mental Health’ Conference held this year was even bigger and better, with a growing number of workshops and talks aimed to educate and inspire. The dedication and effort that Kate has put into creating these much needed and much appreciated mental health conferences has resulted in a ripple effect.

She has helped school staff (teachers and SLTs) and ultimately the pupils that need their teachers to know effective mental health strategies to keep them healthy and happy. Ultimately, this has led to flourishing schools.

What’s worked?

Kate’s passion and drive to help both staff and pupils with mental health and support has seen her help countless schools across the York area and beyond. With her knowledge of what is needed within the education sector, her expertise will see her develop further conferences.

Through these and other initiatives she has undertaken (such as Genius Hour), she’s bringing the best and brightest to Yorkshire. She does this by actively working with local and national organisations and specialists to bring the best knowledge to schools in the York area.

Kate has an open, supportive, personal approach to people, that means her conferences and other events are engaging, appropriate, and up-to-date with the latest knowledge and research.

What have you learnt? Any challenges?

Kate has had to learn a lot about organising large scale mental health conferences, as well as to create smaller, local events that help to keep the momentum of what she is trying to achieve. It is by bringing schools together that we can tackle the wider mental health issues in society.

What’s next?

Kate wants to continue seeing the mental health conferences grow and help training teachers develop the skills to help pupils in the classroom. Her passion for event planning and her networking skills means that she can access the best knowledge and researchers in the future.

What advice, contacts or resources would help you?

Education contacts and mental health and wellbeing contacts would be helpful, particularly to enable Kate to bring in more local expertise to her conferences and teaching school.

Why we’re sharing these stories

An individual or organisation from each of our five categories will be recognised at our Igniting Inspiration recognition event in November, but we want to publish all relevant stories to spread awareness of all the positive work that goes on in our region!

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