Paula Blakemore is the head of law at Birkenhead Sixth Form College and a lecturer at The Law Academy, with teaching and research interests in legal education, and tort, criminal, employment and contract law.
"The impact you have made on me is like no other. You have definitely passed your huge passion for law on to me."
Paula was nominated by the managing director of The Law Academy, where she teaches on CILEx courses, and one of her A level students, both of whom were keen to stress her ability to inspire and motivate students to raise their aspirations. Teaching in both institutions gives Paula a deep insight into different routes into law and her students benefit from this knowledge. She makes a point of understanding and catering for her students' individual needs and, thanks to her research in legal education, appreciates that a traditional career path or teaching style may not suit everyone.
To this end, she makes full use of her creative skills to produce memorable and engaging classes - from drama and dolls houses to mnemonics and memory tricks. Outside the classroom, Paula tries to expose her students to law in practice through the annual Bar Mock Trial Competition and mentoring sessions with barristers and judges. These activities have led to her students securing prestigious training, work experience and apprenticeship opportunities, and one was recently named CILEx Student of the Year.
Preparing her students first for university and then for a career in law is paramount for Paula. To replicate the practicalities of life as a lawyer, Paula insists on accurate note-taking and organisation and undertakes regular file audits. In the words of one of her students, Paula is "an inspiration".
"As a further education teacher, I am delighted to be shortlisted in such exalted company for this prestigious award. This is an opportunity to celebrate A Level law which provides a gateway to law via the academic path of higher education and the vocational path of CILEx and legal apprenticeships."