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Smile, you could become a celebrity of the classroom

Star photographer Rankin mixes shots of the famous with teacher portraits to mark the tenth anniversary of the Teaching Awards

BOTH ARE used to performing and holding the rapt attention of occasionally difficult audiences.

Now the lives of teachers and celebrities have moved a step closer with the launch of the 10th annual Teaching Awards and the promise of red carpet treatment and emotional acceptance speeches for the winners.

To mark the event, Rankin, the celebrity photographer, has taken a special set of portraits featuring nine famous faces from the worlds of television, comedy and music as well as three previous Teaching Award winners.

Posters and postcards of the pictures are being sent to 29,000 schools across the UK to remind pupils, parents and teachers to make nominations in 11 categories, from outstanding new teacher to special needs teacher of the year.

Celebrities taking part in the campaign include comedians Rob Brydon and Lenny Henry, television presenter Claudia Winkleman, journalist Jon Snow and Blur musician Alex James.

Lenny Henry said: "I have nothing but big respect for teachers. We entrust our children to these people and they have an incredibly tough job.

"Our children really do benefit hugely, so it goes without saying that inspirational teachers should be celebrated to the extreme."

Alex James said: "Anything is potentially interesting, but it depends entirely on who's talking about it. That is why teachers themselves are so important."

Philip Glenister, who starred in 1970s-set police drama Life on Mars, is also taking part in the campaign. This follows criticism from Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teachers' union, over some of the terms of abuse used in the show such as "fairy boy" and "Paki" which she said could encourage homophobic and racist bullying in schools.

The three teachers whose pictures will be seen in staffrooms up and down the country are: Claire Jerman, who won the 2006 award for special needs teacher in the South West, when teaching at Hillside Special School, in Plymouth, Devon; Robert Barber MBE, who won the 2003 award for school and community involvement for his work at The Park School in Barnstaple, Devon; and Karl Bardouille, who won this year's prize for primary teacher for his work at Godwin Junior School in Newham, East London.

Caroline Evans, chief executive of the awards, said: "Teachers dedicate their professional lives to creating a future for the next generation. They deserve to be recognised and celebrated for their exceptional work."

Founded by Lord Puttnam in 1998, the awards have been given to more than 1,000 teachers, headteachers, teaching assistants and schools governors.

To make a nomination for next year, visit www.teachingawards.com.

Rob Brydon, Magazine, page 12

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