Spotlight on our Alumni Community Heroes: Conor McSorley

Conor McSorley (Secondary PGCE Citizenship Studies 2017) was shortlisted in our Alumni Awards 2023 earlier this year in the Community Hero catagory.

For the past three years Conor has worked at one of only three schools in the UK which caters specifically for people with visual impairments. Conor has been praised for going above and beyond to support his students, finding new and innovative ways to deliver lessons, supporting them in gaining employability skills and growing their confidence. 

Extending this determination outside of the classroom, Conor raises awareness of people with visual impairments and the daily challenges they face through his charitable and partnership work, gaining him several accolades in the process.  

Going above and beyond 

As Head of Humanities, Conor is dedicated to encouraging his SEN pupils to gain employability skills by utilising their passions, placing emphasis on encouragement, online promotion and using social media. This gives his visually impaired learners confidence in their voice and shows them how they can turn hobbies into employability skills. Just a few of the innovative examples of this include contacting Easyjet so that a pupil fascinated by air travel was invited to Liverpool airport to make a flight announcement.  He also got in touch with Listerine, a mouthwash brand,  sending them videos of a pupil doing product reviews and the pupil is now going to be featured in a national Listerine advertising campaign! 

In June this year, he lead a project with his pupils, called Eco Fairy Garden Project, which won an award in The Young Green Briton Challenge, an initiative for schools to lead projects on climate action and sustainability. The award was presented to pupils at The Palace of Westminster, by Chris Packham. 

Beyond school-based activities, Conor ran a marathon blindfolded to raise awareness of people with visual impairments and the daily challenges they face, which received widespread media coverage. What was so special about this was that friends and family joined him along the way, a difference person every mile, to be his guide and support. Even his 92 year old grandfather got involved! And he is about to take on his biggest challenge to date, running 100 miles blindfolded, starting on 3 November 2023. 

Putting learning into practice 

Conor used the skills he developed during his Citizenship specialism at CCCU to establish a  debating society which entered a team in a competition in the North West of England. Conor really took to heart the concept of non-curricular learning opportunities and how these can benefit young people too. The concept focuses on the need to adapt teaching styles to suit learners, which Conor has responded to by rising to the challenge that working with visually impaired learners presents, finding new and innovative ways to deliver lessons and by completing QTVI (qualified teacher of visually impaired).  

“The knowledge and experience I gained while completing my post-graduate at CCCU helped shape me into the teacher I am today.”

Recognising impact 

Conor is committed to making a difference, and sits on the Liverpool Literacy Cycle Committee which co-ordinates educational events around the city with schools and agencies collaborating in city-wide events. One successful event which he ran was the St. Patricks Day event highlighting the historical and cultural links between Liverpool and Ireland.  

Conor was recently presented with an “Inspirational People of the City” award this year by Liverpool City Council for his work in education and charity in the city.