Nine of the most inspiring, talented, and dedicated teachers and education staff from across Wales have been revealed as winners of the fourth annual Professional Teaching Awards Cymru.
The pandemic didn’t stop the celebrations at the virtual ceremony with 26 finalists and their schools, family and friends all tuning in to watch. Hosted by comedian and presenter Tudur Owen and entertainment provided by acapella trio Sorela, Education Minister Kirsty Williams revealed the winners.
The awards recognise the brilliant work that our teachers and education staff do for our schools across Wales, and after a difficult year for the education sector, provided some much-needed positivity for those involved.
David Church, from Mountain Ash Comprehensive School in Mountain Ash, won a new and very special award for 2020, the Pupil (or Pupils’) Award for Best Teacher. David was nominated by his pupils for being not only a great teacher, but a role model and a friend. The judges were blown away with the comments received by his pupils, who all agreed that David does everything in his power to help them succeed.
David said, “I am extremely honoured and humbled to have received multiple nominations from my pupils for this award and when I found out I was a finalist, I cried with joy. I am very blessed to have so many wonderful past and present pupils, colleagues and more who have played a significant part in my success, and I will be grateful to them always.”
Victoria Carey, from Mary Immaculate High School in Cardiff, won the award for Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School. Known for her warmth, care and focus on achieving the best for her learners, Victoria impressed the judges with her commitment and enthusiasm for her role. They found her passion and dedication for her subject to be infectious, and her impact on young people’s success to be outstanding.
Victoria said, “I feel incredibly honoured to have won as it not only recognises my efforts as a teacher, but the efforts of all the teachers, advisors, colleagues and so many others who have helped me to develop my practice and thrive in my role. This nomination is as much for them as it is for me, as without them I would not be where I am today. Being able to be part of this celebration is a once in a life-time experience, and one I will cherish forever.”
For the third time, the Education Minister also revealed the winner of the Welsh Government Special Recognition Award. This special award was open to anyone working in education, in whatever capacity. This year, for the first time ever, it was awarded to every single person in education including teachers, school staff and all of the learners.
Teacher of the Year in a Primary school – new for 2020
Stacey Harris – Coed Eva Primary School, Cwmbran
Outstanding New Teacher
Hannah Lewis – Troedyrhiw Primary School, Merthyr Tydfil
Inspirational Use of the Welsh Language
Dyfed Williams – Ysgol Eirias, Colwyn Bay
Supporting Teachers and Learners
Louise Flynn – Pen Y Dre High School, Merthyr Tydfil
Youth Work in Schools
Gavin Witte – Youth Service Ceredigion
Teacher of the Year in a Secondary school – new for 2020
Victoria Carey – Mary Immaculate High School, Cardiff
School Business Manager/Bursar
Catrin Rhys Williams – Ysgol Uwchradd Glan Clwyd, St Asaph
Headteacher of the Year
David Jenkins – Ysgol Ty Coch, Pontypridd
Pupil (or Pupils’) Award for Best Teacher – new for 2020
David Church – Mountain Ash Comprehensive School, Mountain Ash
The Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, said: “I am so pleased that we have had the opportunity to celebrate our incredible education professionals for another year, and would like to say a huge congratulations to this year’s Professional Teaching Awards Cymru winners.
“After the ceremony was postponed back in May due to the pandemic, we have worked so hard to ensure the finalists get the celebration and recognition that they deserve. Both our finalists and our winners should all be extremely proud of making it to the final and know that the entire nation recognises their hard work and commitment to education.
“With the introduction of the new Pupil Award for Best Teacher category this year, it has been so incredibly heart-warming to hear from pupils first-hand how their teachers have and continue to impact their lives.
“It was an absolute honour to award the Welsh Government Special Recognition Award to every single person in education. After this year, it was impossible to single out one individual for this award and everyone deserves recognition for their resilience and hard work this year during the pandemic. To every teacher, cleaner, cook, caretaker, school business manager, teaching assistant, headteacher, education practitioner and every young person, you are all absolutely brilliant and we cannot thank you enough.”
All winners were presented with bespoke, hand-crafted Griffith Jones trophies.