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Oscars for the professionals

Further to the Teacher Training Agency's proposed recruitment schemes (TES, August 1), one idea mentioned is "an awards scheme for teachers which could culminate in an annual Oscar-style ceremony to celebrate the profession's success". I write to inform you and your readers that such an initiative has, in fact, been running for a number of years.

The Teacher of the Year Awards were set up seven years ago, seeking to highlight and recognise the vital role that teachers play in educating our children.

The 1997 Teacher of the Year Awards was launched in January with the question: "Do you know a teacher who is special?" More than 1,000 nominations were received from pupils, parents and colleagues throughout the country.

Twelve regional Teachers of the Year have been selected by the awards panel. Over the past two months, the Disney Channel has hosted events in each of their schools to present these top teachers with a certificate and a Pounds 2, 000 bursary for school funds.

During the summer one of the 12 will be chosen as overall Teacher of the Year for 1997, to be announced at a high-profile awards event in October. The overall teacher of the year will be presented with a bursary of Pounds 8,000 for school funds and will be invited to attend next year's American teacher awards, which have been organised by the Walt Disney Company since 1989.

PAT PARTINGTON

Chair of awards panel The Teacher of the Year Awards 1997 Aspect Communications London EC1

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