Inspirational Teachers Award | University of Oxford
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Inspirational Teachers Award

Since 2010, the University of Oxford has run a scheme to recognise inspirational teachers from UK schools and colleges.

This award scheme recognises the crucial role teachers play in encouraging talented students in their schools or colleges. Each year, current first-year Oxford undergraduates from UK state schools or colleges with a limited history of sending students to Oxford are asked if they would like to nominate an inspirational teacher. 

The Inspirational Teachers Awards are a way of recognising the importance of school or college teachers in encouraging bright students to realise their potential and make a successful application to Oxford.

In 2019 ten teachers were honoured with an award. All were nominated by students currently in their first year at Oxford and attended an awards ceremony in May held at the University of Oxford. 

Inspirational Teacher Award Winners 2019 

Our 2019 winning teachers are:

Carolyn Davies of NPTC Group in Neath Port Talbot, Wales. Nominated by Abi Owen studying Music at Jesus College.

"Teachers like Carolyn with their hard work and dedication to pupils that, like me, want to go further, are the very reason students from State schools are in Oxford at all…Carolyn is a hero and I sincerely hope that this award could attempt to express my gratitude to a teacher who has helped not only me, but every music student at NPTC Group achieve their goals."

Abi Owen & Carolyn Davies

Abi and Carolyn - watch their video

Claire Hurst of The Lancaster Academy in Leicester, East Midlands. Nominated by Roman Kenny-Manning studying Law with German Law at Corpus Christi College.

"Ms Hurst embodies what it means to be a teacher: kind, nurturing, ambitious…inspiring. In a school environment which was extremely rare for students to even think about studying at somewhere like Oxford, Ms Hurst often firmly made me realise that I had the potential to achieve something special. The passion she had not only for my personal goals and prospects but also for education in general played a huge factor in my work ethic at school. It is safe to say that she played a pivotal role in the formation my own ambitions, one of which was to study at Oxford."

Claire Hurst & Roman Kenny-Manning

Claire and Roman - watch their video

Emma Read of St Albans RC High School in Torfaen, Wales. Nominated by Laura McGriele studying English Language and Literature at Lady Margaret Hall.

"For the entirety of my time in her classroom, I was happy and engaged. I looked forward to feeling as though I was wanted and involved, and she saw in me what she deemed to be a “talent”… Ever since that day six years ago, she hasn’t stopped. Every day she would remind me that I was worth something more than I could ever hope to believe, and every day since I had tried to emulate a small amount of the faith that she has placed in me."

Emma Read & Laura McGriele

Emma and Laura - watch their video

Matthew Southern-Myers, formerly of Cranford Community College in Hounslow, London. Nominated by Lucy Tirahan studying English Language and Literature at Lincoln College.

"Aside from fulfilling the aspects which all good teachers do (being patient, showing dedication to students and commitment to achieving the highest grades possible) there were a lot of selfless decisions he made which helped me to achieve my place at Oxford. [He] was consistent with providing support to our cohort and always made time for anyone that needed his advice."

Matthew Southern-Myers & Lucy Tirahan

Matthew and Lucy - watch their video

Oliver Smith of Halesowen College in Dudley, West Midlands. Nominated by Michael-Akolade Ayodeji studying PPE at University College.

"What made Mr Smith an inspirational teacher was his ability to relate to everyone. He would recommend books by philosophers, sociologist or fictional authors which were outside our syllabus but facilitated critical analysis of ideas and systems. This laid the foundation for my getting more engaged with the subject topics, reading around my syllabus, attending talks and seminars on interesting motions beyond the A Level scope."

Oliver Smith & Michael-Akolade Ayodeji

Oliver and Michael-Akolade - watch their video

Richard Dunsterville of The Bay CE School in the Isle of Wight. Nominated by Sam Lapham studying English Language and Literature at Christ Church College.

"Mr Dunsterville…had a manner about him which was at once sympathetic, wise, funny and inspiring… His sheer passion for English is rivalled only by his sincerity in wanting his students to do well, not for any form of public appraisal, but because he believes in them."

Sam Lapham & Richard Dunsterville

Sam and Richard - watch their video

Robert Fisher of Blackpool Sixth Form in Blackpool, North West England. Nominated by Callum Wardle studying Mathematics at Queen's College.

"Rob is really the driving force behind my application to Oxford. If it wasn’t for him, I would never have realised I had what it takes to achieve as highly as I have and wouldn’t have pushed myself to do so. One of Rob’s favourite quotations really encapsulates my journey to Oxford: "I see now that the circumstances of one's birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are."

Callum Wardle & Robert Fisher

Callum and Robert - watch their video

Simon Dawson, formerly of Springwood High School in Norfolk, East England. Nominated by Kaveeta Malhi studying Medicine at Merton College.

"Mr Dawson is the most passionate and inspirational teacher I have ever had. [His] enthusiasm was infectious - not only did he help us all succeed in three separate maths GCSEs, but made sure nobody was left behind, irrespective of ability. Every member of that class felt included and supported. [He] encouraged me the most to be the best I could be..."

Simon Dawson & Kaveeta Malhi

Simon and Kaveeta - watch their video

Steve Jolley of The FitzWimarc School in Rayleigh, East England. Nominated by Lewis Davies studying Law at Pembroke College.

"Steve's belief in me was infectious. He would push and expect more from me than I knew possible... He is the teacher of teachers. He should be awarded because he did not just go above and beyond what is expected of a teacher, but because he went above and beyond what it means to be a good human being."

Steve Jolley & Lewis Davies

Steve and Lewis - watch their video

Susan Orsi of Carmel College in Darlington, North East England. Nominated by Chloe Summers studying History at Brasenose College.

"Mrs Orsi never gave me the easy options and always pushed me to work hard to achieve what she believed I could; her guidance taught me dedication and perseverance. [Without] her endless support, guidance, and kindness I would never have dreamed of applying for Oxford in the first place, let alone have been able to achieve what I needed to come here."

Susan Orsi & Chloe Summers

Susan and Chloe - watch their video

See all our winners on our Oxford People Videowall.

We would also like to highly commend all this year's nominated teachers:

  • Adele Jones of Hereford Sixth Form College in Herefordshire, West Midlands. Nominated by Adam Wilkinson-Hill studying History and Politics at Jesus College.
  • Andrea McGuigan of Cardinal Hume Catholic School in Gateshead, North East. Nominated by Lucy McBride studying History at Jesus College.
  • Andrew Rae of Elthorne Park High School in Ealing, London. Nominated by Jaymin Shah studying Mathematics at Christ Church College.
  • Becky Ferguson of Marlwood School in South Gloucestershire, South West. Nominated by Sophie Chinnock studying Ancient and Modern History at Worcester College.
  • Ben Breen of Dartford Grammar School in Kent, South East. Nominated by Sidhant Jadeja studying Law at Keble College.
  • Benjamin Robertson of The Hayfield School in Doncaster, Yorkshire and the Humber. Nominated by Charlotte Wriglesworth studying English Language and Literature at Brasenose College.
  • Catherine Goodwin of Gosforth Academy in Newcastle upon Tyne, North East. Nominated by Julia Duddy studying History at The Queen's College.
  • Catherine Vowles of The Heathland School in Hounslow, London. Nominated by Minhaj Rahman studying PPE at Balliol College.
  • Catrin Bennett of Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg in Vale of Glamorgan, Wales. Nominated by Brennig Davies studying English Language and Literature at Mansfield College, and Nia Brown studying English Language and Literature at St Hugh's College.
  • Charlotte Galvin of Rutlish School in Merton, London. Nominated by Daniel Ostrowski studying History and Politics at Merton College.
  • Cheryl Longmore of The Kingswinford School in Dudley, West Midlands. Nominated by Georgia Watkins studying French and Italian at St Hilda's College.
  • Chris Rees of Westminster City School in Westminster, London. Nominated by Glen Hoti studying Medicine at Lincoln College.
  • Christine Cane of Christ The King Catholic High School in Sefton, North West. Nominated by Isabelle Gibbons studying History at The Queen's College.
  • Clare Swayne of North Bristol Post 16 Centre in Bristol, South West. Nominated by Bethany (Betty) Barber studying Modern Languages (French and Spanish) at Somerville College.
  • Corin Jones of Burntwood School in Wandsworth, London. Nominated by Lucia Hayward-Vera studying Biological Sciences at St Peter's College.
  • Cormac van der Hoeven of Wimbledon College in Merton, London. Nominated by Matteo Baccaglini studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Merton College.
  • David Lindsay of St Ambrose College in Trafford, North West. Nominated by Joshua Remo Lavorini studying Modern Languages at Pembroke College.
  • David Rey of Valentines High School in Redbridge, London. Nominated by Emma McIntyre studying Modern Languages at Oriel College.
  • Denise Detain of Our Lady's Convent High School in Hackney, London. Nominated by Jenna Colaco studying Classics and English at St Anne's College.
  • Denise Read of Presdales School in Hertfordshire, East of England. Nominated by Tara Petty studying Biological Sciences at Keble College.
  • Duncan Richmond of Ysgol y Preseli in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Nominated by Megan Matthews studying Engineering Science at St Hugh's College.
  • Emily Roche of The Sir Robert Woodard Academy in West Sussex, South East. Nominated by Sarah James-Short studying History at St Anne’s College.
  • Emma Danhauser of Ashby School in Leicestershire, East Midlands. Nominated by Rachel Martin studying Biochemistry at Brasenose College.
  • Estelle Cooch of Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College in Lewisham, London. Nominated by Alan Taylor studying Psychology and Philosophy at University College.
  • Francesca Grilli of Runshaw College in Lancashire, North West. Nominated by Alex Melling studying Classics at Brasenose College.
  • Jack Houghton of Guildford County School in Surrey, South East. Nominated by Felix Ginsberg studying English Language and Literature at Exeter College.
  • James Baldaro of Petroc College in Devon, South West. Nominated by Jack Elston studying Experimental Psychology at Christ Church College.
  • Jamie Davies of Wyke Sixth Form College in Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire and the Humber. Nominated by Alice Gowland studying Experimental Psychology at Magdalen College.
  • Jane Doar of Guildford County School in Surrey, South East. Nominated by Ankit Kapoor studying English Language and Literature at St John's College.
  • Jane Anthony of Burntwood School in Wandsworth, London. Nominated by Lily Lefkow-Green studying Classics at Oriel College.
  • Jenny Slark of St Philomenas Catholic High School for Girls in Sutton, London. Nominated by Ellie Bartley studying History at St Hilda's College.
  • Jessica Dougherty of Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School in Lancashire, North West. Nominated by Isaac Heeks studying Oriental Studies (Japanese) at Hertford College.
  • Jessica Mahler of South Craven School in North Yorkshire, Yorkshire and the Humber. Nominated by Matthew Griffiths studying Chemistry at Brasenose College.
  • Jessica Town of St Francis Xavier 6th Form College in Wandsworth, London. Nominated by Molly Abella studying Ancient and Modern History at Brasenose College.
  • John Pitt of Cirencester College in Gloucestershire, South West. Nominated by Hannah Bowsher studying English Language and Literature at Christ Church College.
  • Josephine Rhodes of The Hollyfield School in Kingston upon Thames, London. Nominated by Saida Azizova studying English at Hertford College.
  • Julian Waterfield of St Anne's Catholic School and Sixth Form in Southampton, South East. Nominated by Amy Ward studying Theology and Religion at St. Johns College.
  • K Auld of Minster School in Derbyshire, East Midlands. Nominated by Eve McMullen studying History and politics at Magdalen College.
  • Kesner Morris of Hagley Catholic High School in Worcestershire, West Midlands. Nominated by Philip Sadler studying English at Somerville College.
  • Laura Gillard of Vyners School in Hillingdon, London. Nominated by Cai Tanner studying Experimental Psychology at St Hilda's College.
  • Lauren Lewis of Peter Symonds College in Hampshire, South East. Nominated by Florence Lappin studying Geography at St. Hilda's College.
  • Lesley Allaway of Newlands Girls' School in Windsor and Maidenhead, South East. Nominated by Emily Bullock studying Philosophy and Modern Languages (French) at Somerville College.
  • Lesley Ferguson of Bay House School and Sixth Form in Hampshire, South East. Nominated by Samuel Ponting studying Experimental Psychology at Pembroke College.
  • Louise Gardner of Caerleon Comprehensive School in Newport, Wales. Nominated by David Aitken studying Biochemistry at Somerville College.
  • Marc Howell of Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School in Derbyshire, East Midlands. Nominated by Eleanor Bennett studying Law at Worcester College.
  • Marco Pereira of London Academy of Excellence in Newham, London. Nominated by Enrik Maci studying Engineering Science at Wadham College.
  • Mark Hall of Island Innovation VI Form Campus in Isle of Wight, South East. Nominated by Joe Davies studying History and Politics at Wadham College.
  • Matt Fisher of Winstanley College in Wigan, North West. Nominated by Alice Wong studying English Literature and Language at Queen's College.
  • Matthew Parry of The Commonweal School and Sixth Form in Swindon, South West. Nominated by Ruth Flame studying Law at New College.
  • Michael Newland of Alun School in Flintshire, Wales. Nominated by Sophie Sims studying English Language and Literature at Lincoln College.
  • Mike Harris of Rainham Mark Grammar School in Medway, South East. Nominated by James Turner studying Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at Lincoln College.
  • Miriam Sechere of Ark Globe Academy in Southwark, London. Nominated by Eduardo Estevez Espitia studying Biological Sciences at St Catherine's College.
  • Nathan Scott of Farnborough Sixth Form College in Hampshire, South East. Nominated by Danielle Watts studying Law at St Hugh's College.
  • Neal Patterson of Ballymena Academy in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Nominated by Shonagh Nelson studying Law at St Hilda’s College.
  • Nigel Prenter of Stroud High School in Gloucestershire, South West. Nominated by Isobel Chappell studying PPE at Worcester College.
  • Paul Townson of Nelson and Colne College in Lancashire, North West. Nominated by Alexandra Mitchell-Males studying English literature and Language at St John’s College.
  • Peter Jackson of Penrice Academy in Cornwall, South West. Nominated by Isabel May studying Classics at Lady Margaret Hall.
  • Peter Wright of The Sixth Form College Farnborough in Hampshire, South East. Nominated by Michael Mortimer studying Mathematics and Philosophy at The Queen's College.
  • Phil Duckworth of Winstanley College in Wigan, North West. Nominated by Sophie Gregson studying History at Worcester College.
  • Raymond O’Neill of Isleworth & Syon School in Hounslow, London. Nominated by Gheorghe Rotaru studying Biochemistry at Corpus Christi College.
  • Rhodri Watkins of Trinity School in West Berkshire, South East. Nominated by Pierce Jones studying History at Brasenose College.
  • Robert Thomas of St. Ivo School in Cambridgeshire, East of England. Nominated by Amelia Bircham studying History and Politics at Keble College.
  • Robert Stevens of Westcliff High School for Boys in Southend-on-Sea, East of England. Nominated by Ruby Vesey studying History at Magdalen College.
  • Samantha Desmond of Richard Huish College in Somerset, South West. Nominated by Justin Vyvyan-Jones studying Classics and German at St Hugh's College.
  • Spencer Lawrence of Toot Hill College in Nottinghamshire, East Midlands. Nominated by Sam Wilson studying Physics at St Peter's College.
  • Steve Coote of Richard Hale School in Hertfordshire, East of England. Nominated by Yusuf Ben-Tarifite studying Medicine at Balliol College.
  • Tamsyn Kramer of Luton Sixth Form College in Luton, East of England. Nominated by Oluwakemi Agunbiade studying Law at Wadham College.
  • Tim Stanforth of Northampton School for Boys in Northamptonshire, East Midlands. Nominated by Deniz de Barros studying History of Art at St John's College.
  • Tim Burton of William Howard School in Cumbria, North West. Nominated by Katie Harkins studying Theology and Religion at St Peter's College.
  • Timothy Wright of King Edward VI Five Ways School in Birmingham, West Midlands. Nominated by Aaron Vitarana studying Physics at Pembroke College.
  • Tracy Allen of Rosebery School in Surrey, South East. Nominated by Sarah Alford studying Archaeology and Anthropology at St Peter's College.
  • Tracy Rigby of Lymm High School in Warrington, North West. Nominated by Hannah Leighton-Jones studying Geography at St Edmund Hall.
  • Vicky Bryant of Carmel College in St. Helens, North West. Nominated by Natasha Clieve studying Law at Hertford College.

Where are our nominated and winning Inspirational Teachers from?

This year we received 84 nominations for teachers in schools across the UK.

Map

Media and Press Coverage

If you have any enquiries regarding the awards, please contact teachers@admin.ox.ac.uk