Country's finest teachers rewarded with PM and afternoon tea

30th October 2009 at 00:00
An audience with Gordon Brown laid on for Teaching Awards' 60 winners

Some of the UK's most inspirational teachers are set for an afternoon tea appointment with the Prime Minister as a reward for being named the best in the country.

About 60 winners of the 2009 Teaching Awards will spend several hours with Gordon Brown on Tuesday. They were given their awards at a televised ceremony last Sunday, which was attended by celebrities including Jodie Kidd, Jamie Cullum, Jenni Falconer, Christine Bleakley and Konnie Huq.

Recipients include "outstanding new teacher" Edward Vickerman, 26, a dyslexia-sufferer who is head of business at the Freeston Business and Enterprise College in Normanton near Wakefield. Judges praised the way he uses his condition as an inspiration.

Secondary head of the year was Liz Quinn, of Stourport High School and VIth Form Centre in Worcestershire, who was nominated for the award by a pupil. She is credited with turning the school around, despite the challenge of it doubling in size due to reorganisation.

Primary head of the year was Angela Palin, who runs St Mellion VA CofE School in Saltash, Cornwall. Mrs Palin has turned the school around from having serious weaknesses to a recent "outstanding" Ofsted rating.

Steve Mills, from William Ransom Primary School in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, won the primary school teacher of the year category. Mr Mills, 40, was nominated by a parent who said he inspired everyone with his "calm confidence" and gave each child an "unforgettable" year in his class. He is the school's only male teacher and also acts as ICT expert, sports coach and governor.

Dan Walton, from St John's Catholic School in Gravesend, was named secondary school teacher of the year. Pupils told judges his lessons are "wicked" and that he is a "legend".

The Ted Wragg lifetime achievement award was won by Mike Vening, now retired executive head of Abbey Hill School and Technology College and of Westlands Special School in Stockton-on-Tees, Cleveland. Mr Vening has been a champion of improving special needs education for 40 years.

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