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Prestigious award for inspirational Barnsley teacher

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Kalam Neale, Esports Programme Lead at Barnsley College, has been presented with a Pearson National Teaching Award Silver Award in the Digital Innovator of the Year category for his outstanding commitment to Esports and digital innovation at the College.

Kalam has envisioned, created and delivered the country’s first ever BTEC Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications in Esports. He was also commended for his knowledge and passion for Esports, which has seen him constantly sharing best practice to other educators and hosting a range of sporting events.

The Silver Award winners were honoured as part of the wider celebrations for national ‘Thank a Teacher Day’, bringing together everyone across the country to celebrate the schools and colleges at the heart of our communities.

As a Silver Award winner, Kalam has now been shortlisted to win one of just 16 Gold Awards later in the year. These once-in-a-lifetime achievements will be broadcasted on the BBC’s The One Show as part of a week-long celebration of teaching.

Kalam said: “I am truly honoured and humbled to have been presented with the Pearson National Teaching Award for Digital Innovator of the Year and to be part of an outstanding group of Silver Award Winners. It was extra special for me to be presented with the award by our Principal on Thank a Teacher Day alongside the rest of the Sport staff team who were Highly Commended for Team of the Year.

“We all know how difficult this industry can be and also the reason we all started this career in the first place, not for gratification, recognition or reward but for how we can positively impact the lives of others through education. I’ll be forever grateful for the vision and support of my amazing colleagues at Barnsley College, for whom without, my work in this area simply would not have been possible.”

Yiannis Koursis, Principal and Chief Executive at Barnsley College, added:

“We are delighted with Kalam’s achievements. The award not only recognises his efforts and accomplishments, but also the College’s ongoing commitment to Esports and digital innovation. I would like to congratulate Kalam on his award, it is richly deserved and we are very proud of him.”

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said:

“Congratulations to Kalam Neale on this incredible achievement, and for the hard work and dedication which led up to it. Winning this award is impressive, well-deserved and shows Kalam’s commitment to helping students achieve their full potential.”

The Sport and Esports staff at Barnsley College have also been awarded the award for FE Team of the Year in recognition of their focus, passion and commitment, embarking on each academic year with optimism and determination to support and guide their students to reach their full potential and professional goals.

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