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Mountain Ash teacher wins a prestigious Gold Teaching Award

Nicola Richards

A Mountain Ash teacher has been named as one of the nation’s most inspirational educators at a prestigious awards ceremony. Selected from thousands of nominations, Nicola Richards has won a Gold Award in the Pearson National Teaching Awards for Teacher of the Year in a Primary School.

The ceremony followed a week-long celebration of these education award winners on the BBC every night on The One Show. The week ended with all the award-winning teachers, teaching assistants, lecturers and school staff being presented with their coveted trophies at a glamorous ceremony at The Brewery in the City of London. 

Nicola is an inspirational teacher who places staff and pupil wellbeing at the heart of the whole school curriculum. She firmly believes that a happy school is a learning school and is a beacon of positivity throughout the school day. Her sunny and positive approach to school life is infectious, and she is a much-loved member of staff. 

She teaches the children to make an impact on their local community through community projects, helped the children raise funds for Ukraine through making and selling wristbands, organised food bank collections and other support over the holidays and created a ‘lending library’ at school. The school is based close to Aberfan, where a mining spoil tip disaster caused the deaths of more than 100 children in 1966.

These Pearson National Teaching Award winners are shining examples of the people who make our schools and colleges so special. Our schools are the beating heart of our communities, and these awards are a wonderful opportunity to recognise the unseen work that schools and colleges do on a daily basis, from going the extra mile to provide reassurance during uncertain times through to offering wider support to families who need it most.

The Gold Award winners have been honoured for their incredible work supporting learners across the country. Each award winner has repeatedly gone above and beyond their role to change the lives of their students, supporting them and their families, and helping them move towards a brighter future.  

The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of excellence in education, founded in 1998 by Lord Puttnam to recognise the life-changing impact an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of the young people they work with. This year marks its 24th year of celebrating our school teaching staff across the UK. 

Sir Michael Morpurgo, celebrated author and former Children’s laureate, and President of the Teaching Awards Trust, said:

People of all ages will always remember that amazing teacher who made such a difference in their lives, whether that’s igniting a fire for their favourite subject or the support they’re received outside the classroom. Teachers and school staff will never know how many lives they have changed, or the impact they have made on so many children and their families, but our hope is that these awards help show them our gratitude, how much we owe them, how much we value their dedication.”

Sharon Hague, Managing Director, Pearson School Qualifications, said:
“More than ever we are seeing the tireless work that our teachers, lecturers, and school staff do day in, day out, to support not only our children but their families too. 

“Congratulations to all our Gold Award winners, who are shining examples of the incredible work going on in our nurseries, schools and colleges every day. This week we have heard so many inspirational stories about our school staff that highlight the exceptional dedication they have to their students, their colleagues, and their communities.”

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: 

Many congratulations to Nicola Richards.

“Their fantastic work and dedication to their students is truly an inspiration, and these awards provide well earnt recognition of the work of incredible teachers and school staff up and down the country.  

“We have some of the best teachers in the world and I want to thank every single person working so hard to support children and young people for their expertise and commitment.”

Sadie Besley, Senior Director of operations at Randstad Education, sponsor of The Award for Teacher of the Year in a Primary School, said:

“The last few years have shown us how crucial schools are to the communities they serve. The staff in our schools have shown unbelievable commitment to ensuring the best possible education for their pupils. In an extremely challenging category Nicola Richards stood out as an extraordinary teacher who goes over and above every single day to support their pupils inside and outside of the classroom. 

“At Randstad, we are delighted to support the Pearson National Teaching Awards to thank the teaching staff who continue to offer such incredible support in these uncertain times. They deserve all the praise in the world.”