Fellowship for school teacher doing research in UK and US

Fellowship: Kirrawee High School teacher Robert Lawson. Picture: Supplied

Fellowship: Kirrawee High School teacher Robert Lawson. Picture: Supplied

A Kirrawee High School teacher will head to the US and UK in 2018 to do research around helping students with a disability into work.

Robert Lawson was recently awarded a 2017 Churchill Fellowship.

Each year, the fellowships help Australians travel overseas to gain knowledge and insights to benefit our communities and society. This year fellowships have been awarded to 109 recipients. 

Mr Lawson’s fellowship will pay up to $25,000 for his trip to the UK and US next year. 

The Technology and Applied Studies (TAS) teacher, who also works with the Department of Education, said he will spend his time overseas learning the ins and outs of successful programs.

“My fellowship will take me to America, the UK and Ireland,” he said. 

“I will be researching programs and resources that support students with disability to transition into the workplace.”

He said there were some great programs in the US and the UK – such as internships and partnerships with organisations – which NSW could implement.

“My train of thought is in NSW, and I think this is fairly consistent throughout Australia, we don’t have programs that are consistent. We have some schools that are doing great things [in this area] and some that are so stretched they are struggling through the day to day.”

He said following his investigation he would write a paper which would hopefully make an impact on schools.

Mr Lawson said one of his goals was to see schools teach students, living with a disability, the skills to transition into work from an earlier age. He said it was much better to start teaching these skills from Year 7 rather than wait until they leave high school.

“Why not start when they are in an environment where they are happy and familiar with their teachers.”

Churchill Trust chief executive Adam Davey said it was a worthy list of recipients again this year from across the country.

“This year, 109 people from a pool of 1140 applicants are being awarded fellowships worth over $2.8 million in total, fully funding their travel for up to eight weeks,” he said.

“To have the opportunity to recognise and reward deserving Australians with an experience that we know will provide them with the traction they are looking for to progress their projects when they return is most satisfying.”