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Accolade for inspiration

Awards for excellence in education may be hard to come by, but Ann Lynn talks to a worthy recipient of DATA's top teaching honour

The Dyson Design and Technology Teacher of the Year accolade has been awarded to a man described as "a truly inspirational colleague".

Dave Hayles, of Saltash Community School in Cornwall, was presented with the award by James Dyson, in recognition of his work with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and Goldsmiths College, London, on their assessing creativity within design and technology project.

He became involved with Richard Kimbell, professor of technology education at Goldsmiths, two years ago, while working on promoting creativity within design technology with his students.

"Richard Kimbell and his team have come into school and worked with the students," said Dave. "We trial their projects and they get the feedback from us - it makes the whole thing very stimulating and exciting. It is terrific to get this sort of recognition, but it really is down to the fantastic support I get at school. It may be a cliche, but I get to work with some tremendous pupils and that's what makes it worthwhile."

Dave has taught at Saltash, a specialist science, maths and computing college, for 14 years, and is also one of a unique team of three advanced skills teachers, set up by county adviser David Prest to work in his design and making centre in Poole. He said: "Working with David Prest's team is great and I have had terrific support from the senior management team at school. For example, they have encouraged me to challenge the way the timetable normally allows the subject to be taught. By changing this and teaching DT solidly for two days the students benefited enormously and found real enthusiasm for the subject."

Dave has also been shortlisted for the regional final of the National Teaching Awards Lifetime Achievement Award. Saltash headteacher, Isobel Bryce, said: "Dave is an inspiration to us all, teachers and pupils alike.

He truly exemplifies the philosophy of lifelong learning.

"Totally committed to nurturing his own learning, he is an excellent role model for staff and pupils. He is modest about his success and is a truly inspirational colleague. His commitment to the students is beyond the call of duty."

The DATA awards scheme is the only one that recognises the excellence of DT teachers, trainers, advisers and technicians. Other winners include Andy Breckon and Bob Cater, who were given the Outstanding Contribution to Design and Technology Education Award, which recognises longstanding and distinguished service to the subject.

A teacher, textbook author and subject inspector in Lincolnshire, Andy Breckon was a former chief executive for DATA, where he championed the highly successful CADCAM in Schools intiative and the electronics and communications technology project. Bob Cater, chairman of trustees of the Engineering Education Scheme in Wales, is a former president of the National Association of Advisers and Inspectors in Design and Technology.

l A list of the 22 winners in seven categories is available at

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