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The search is on for Wales’ unsung heroes of education

Time is running out for Wales’ parents, guardians and students to nominate an unsung hero from their school community in the UK’s most prestigious education awards – The Pearson National Teaching Awards. Nominations can be submitted until 1st March for school staff members who consistently go the extra mile to enhance the lives of young people and the community.

This is an award for anyone who works in education; teachers and school leaders who wholeheartedly dedicate themselves to fostering students’ learning, and the support staff who also play invaluable roles behind the scenes. It could be the school office manager who greets every child by name, the caretaker who high-fives students in the hallway, or the lunch supervisor who encourages outstanding manners at meal times – these unsung heroes enhance education communities every day and this is an opportunity to let them know they are appreciated.

Last year’s Award for Excellence in Special Needs Education went to David Jones from Pembrokeshire College. He was nominated and selected as the gold award winner from thousands of nominees based on his inspirational teaching, contributions to his school and community, and influence among colleagues, as assessed by judges. David recognised the lack of representation for young adults with additional learning needs when looking at world and vocational skills. In response to this gap, he created a team of eight coaches to train children on independent learning skills which succesfully went on to win 15 national and Welsh medals in recognition of the 50 students they coached. David continues to championing them throughout their vocational learning and qualifications.

If this sounds like someone you know at your local school, then now is the time to make sure they are recognised for their commitment and hard work.

Swansea City striker, former PE teaching assistant, and Teaching Awards Trust ambassador, Jamal Lowe, recently visited Pontarddulais Comprehensive School, home to the gold winner of the 2018 Headteacher of the Year in a Secondary award. Here he spoke with BBC Bitesize about the important role teachers play in shaping the next generation and the positive impact the Pearson National Teaching Awards has on teachers and communities. He said:

“Being a teaching assistant was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, I loved watching children thrive in whatever sport they did. It’s not just catching a ball or running around the track, it’s about personal growth and how sport helps children develop. I believe sport is a marker for life as it helps you build confidence and social skills. The Pearson National Teaching Awards is a fantastic way to appreciate and celebrate the amazing teachers and support staff in your community.”

Lowe was an assistant PE teacher at Coombe Hill Primary School before playing for Bournemouth AFC in the Premier League. Jamal has also won four international caps for Jamaica where he has played against Lionel Messi.

Mary Palmer, Chief Executive Officer at The Teaching Awards Trust said: “These awards shine a much-needed spotlight on the great work that takes place in schools and colleges across the UK. The wonderful teachers and all staff in education deserve huge recognition and praise for everything they do to educate and support children. The Unsung Hero award gives the opportunity to highlight their exceptional commitment and dedication.”

Nominations for the Unsung Hero award in the Pearson National Teaching Awards can be made on the Teaching Awards Trust website by 1st March.