“The only reason people go into teaching is because they are unambitious, unlucky and they relaxed the rules on police background checks.” So says Mr Gilbert, the sardonic head of sixth form in comedy series The Inbetweeners.
Greg Davies, who played Mr Gilbert in the Channel 4 show, should know better: he spent 13 years in the classroom as a secondary English and drama teacher, before making his name as an actor and comedian.
Davies, who is perhaps best known for playing the cynical Mr Gilbert – ranked number nine in a poll of TES readers’ favourite fictional teachers, just above Breaking Bad’s crystal meth-brewing Walter White – will be stepping into the spotlight next month to host the TES Schools Awards.
He is on record admitting that his own performance in the classroom was hardly chart-topping. “Don’t say I was an inspirational teacher,” he told the Radio Times in an interview. “My former pupils would laugh their heads off. I was grossly incompetent, but I hope I didn’t do the children a disservice. Kids are great. They are endlessly fascinating and bizarre.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given his comments, he has no plans to return to teaching any time soon: “I haven’t maintained my qualifications and, after everything I’ve said over the years about teaching, I’m pretty sure the profession wouldn’t have me back – quite rightly.”
At a glittering awards ceremony to be held on 19 June at the Grosvenor House Hotel on London’s Park Lane, Davies will recognise education professionals whose school careers have been considerably more successful than his own.
Last year, Bohunt School in Hampshire was named school of the year for its dedication to providing “career-readying lessons”, to help prepare pupils for life after they leave. It has also made consistent efforts to enhance classroom learning by offering an extensive outdoor-education programme.
Meanwhile, Aileen Mullen was recognised as teacher of the year for her work teaching art to deaf children at Donaldson’s School in Linlithgow. She has also run a student-enterprise scheme, selling pupil-made crafts to the public. And each year, she transforms the school bus into a float for a local parade.
This year’s award judges include Tom Bennett, TES contributor and director of the ResearchED conference; broadcaster and writer Baroness Floella Benjamin; and author Anthony Horowitz, creator of the Alex Rider novels.
To book a table at the TES Schools Awards 2015 on 19 June, visit tesawards.co.uk