Ten state school teachers from across Britain have been honoured as 'inspirational teachers' by Oxford University in an awards scheme designed to recognise teachers from state schools and colleges who go the extra mile for their students.
On 6 May the teachers were honoured at an event at St Peter's College. They were recognised for their efforts supporting pupils who were successful in getting places at Oxford. The teachers were all nominated by current first-year Oxford students.
Dr Samina Khan, Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Oxford, said: 'The Inspirational Teachers Awards are a way of recognising the importance of school or college teachers in encouraging bright students to realise their potential and make a successful application to Oxford, especially those who might not have initially believed they were Oxford material. This is particularly true for teachers who champion students who might be the only ones in their year – or even their school’s history – with the academic ability and drive to apply to Oxford. Winning a place at Oxford takes hard work and dedication, and having the support of a committed teacher is for many students what makes the difference.
'Teachers motivate and inspire students with a huge range of abilities and needs, and this year's winning teachers also clearly showed the highest standard of commitment to all their students. They have inspired students with their passion, creativity and dedication to be the best they possibly can be and deserve recognition for that above all. I hope this award goes some way to saying thank you.'
Oxford University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson, said: 'Inspirational teachers make a lifelong impression on their students. Every one of us, of any age, can remember a teacher who challenged and inspired us, who brought out the best in us, and motivated us to do more. Oxford's standing as one of the world's pre-eminent universities is underpinned not only by the excellence of its research against global benchmarks, but by the acknowledged quality of its teaching. Congratulations to all of this year's award recipients.'
Mr Beard said: 'I feel very honoured that the hard work of everyone in our school has been recognised by such a prestigious institution as Oxford University. We are so proud of Adib and his achievements and are so delighted to hear how well he is getting on. A truly talented individual, the very fact he thought and found the time at such as busy period to nominate myself just typifies his humble and dignified nature. As clichéd as it sounds it is students like Adib that continue to inspire us as teachers and we wish him every success in what we are sure will be a very bright future.'
Adib Tarafdar said: 'At my school, I was the first ever student to even apply to study medicine at Oxford University, but when choosing my options, the school as a whole really supported me and all my teachers were very proud of my decision – none more so than my biology teacher, Mr Beard. I found Mr Beard a constant source of encouragement, not only when applying through UCAS, but also throughout my entire time at the school. He recognised and supported my ability starting all the way back in Year 10, when he first started teaching me. And throughout my time at the school, he has been as equally happy as me, if not happier, with my successes.
'This award for Mr Beard truly means a lot to me – getting into Oxford is one of the best things that has ever happened to me, and it is nice to finally be able to give Mr Beard some well-deserved recognition for all the hard work he has put in: not just with me, but with all his present, past and future students too.'
The award scheme recognises the crucial role teachers and careers advisers play in encouraging talented students in their schools or colleges. A selection of current first-year Oxford undergraduates were asked to nominate teachers or careers advisers for the award who inspired them to apply to Oxford, fostered their passion for a particular subject or supported them through the application process. The students were all from selected UK state schools or colleges with a limited history and tradition of sending students to Oxford.
Oxford University spends more than £5.5 million each year on more than 2,200 outreach events, reaching virtually all UK schools which produce candidates capable of making a competitive application to university. Work with teachers is a key priority for the University's outreach work, including a series of regional teachers' conferences each year, a one-day event for Oxford's own PGCE programme, and working with Teach First participants.
The winning teachers are:
- Iain Wilson, Grange Academy, Kilmarnock
- Lynne Jones, Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen, Bethesda
- Patrician Knights, Camborne Science and International Academy, Camborne
- Jamie Beard, Bryntirion Comprehensive School, Bridgend
- Edward Davison, Ark Putney Academy
- Emmanuel Kumadoh, Nene Park Academy, Peterborough
- Jude Devlin, St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School, Birmingham
- Hamish Harron, Headlands School, Bridlington
- John Course, Robert Clack School, Dagenham
- Gill Power, Shenfield High School, Shenfield