A maths teacher from a school in South West London was shortlisted for the Global Teacher Prize after his tuition website went viral during lockdown, helping millions of pupils in the UK and around the world to continue their studies at home. Dr Jamie Frost from Tiffin School in Kingston Upon Thames was selected from more than 12,000 nominations and applications from over 140 countries for the Global Teacher Prize.
In addition, Dr Frost was also awarded the Covid Hero Award - a special recognition for going above and beyond to keep young people learning during the COVID-19 pandemic - and walked away with a prize fund of £34,000 after receiving a share from the winner, Indian teacher, Ranjitsinh Disale.
Indian village teacher Ranjitsinh Disale, who transformed the life chances of young girls at the Zilla Parishad Primary School, Paritewadi, Solapur, Maharashtra, India, has been named the winner of the US $1 million Global Teacher Prize 2020, in partnership with UNESCO. Now in its sixth year, the award established by the Varkey Foundation is the largest prize of its kind.
In his winning speech Mr Disale made the extraordinary announcement that he will share half the prize money with his fellow Top 10 finalists, resulting in the other nine finalists receiving just over US $55,000 each. This is the first time in the Global Teacher Prize’s six year history that the overall winner has shared the prize money with other finalists.
In his acceptance speech, Ranjitsinh said he had decided to share his $1 million prize with the nine runners-up. Ranjitsinh, who teaches in a small village in India, won the accolade for improving the education of young girls at the Zilla Parishad Primary School in India.
Really delighted the win the Covid Hero Prize in this year's @TeacherPrize. And I congratulate @ranjitdisale on winning the overall competition; an exciting year he has ahead of him! A deserving winner.
— DrFrostMaths (@DrFrostMaths) December 3, 2020
The Global Teacher Prize, run by the Varkey Foundation, selects the most inspiring teachers from across the world to receive a $1 million prize, which is to be used to expand on their outstanding work.
For the first time, the Global Teacher Prize winning announcement was made at a virtual ceremony broadcast from the Natural History Museum in London, with comedian, actor, writer and presenter Stephen Fry announcing the winner.
Both the Education Secretary and the Prime Minister offered their congratulations to Dr Frost and included a wider thank you to all teachers within the profession.
In a video message, the Prime Minister said Mr Frost’s “ingenuity” had “given hope and support to millions of children throughout the world”. He also added “It’s been incredible to see how teachers have adapted to home learning and used technology to continue with lessons throughout the pandemic. You don’t just represent the heroic teachers in the United Kingdom but also across the whole world.”
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“I would like to send my warmest congratulations and thanks to Jamie for his outstanding innovation and dedication in helping pupils and fellow teachers around the world. It is a truly remarkable story, and I am pleased he is receiving the worldwide recognition he thoroughly deserves.
“This is also another moment I would like to take to thank teachers and support staff in all schools and colleges for what they have done for our children this year, and their extraordinary hard work in the face of unprecedented circumstances.”
Jamie is one of those extremely gifted teachers who was always destined for the classroom, even though he didn’t realise it at first. As a successful student at Oxford University, he won the Microsoft Research Prize for best undergraduate dissertation and went on to study for a PhD in Computer Science. While teaching as part of his graduate studies, the positive and enthusiastic response of his students inspired him, making him realise that he had a real passion and talent for the profession – so he arranged a week of work experience at his old school and the rest is history.
Jamie Frost, as well as teaching at Tiffin School, has also created and runs the hugely influential and ground-breaking website for maths tuition DrFrostMaths that provides an online learning platform, teaching resources, videos and a bank of exam questions to practice on, all for free. The site was developed to both support his school’s lower attaining students and galvanise those who may be disenfranchised with mathematics. However, it has now far outgrown that modest ambition.
When the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools all over the world, DrFrostMaths became a lifeline for students shut out of classrooms. Within a week, the site’s pageviews had jumped from 0.4 million to 1.3 million per day. Jamie spent every free hour he had coding to adapt the site to meet the needs of students and teachers in this new environment, developing virtual white board software and tools to help teachers monitor students’ progress in real time. He even received a donation of £10,000 to help him fund his free site and Amazon web services also donated $10,000 in server credit.
The site has now had over 7 million resource downloads and is a worldwide sensation. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the site is used in some capacity by well over half of all secondary schools in the UK. Jamie travels internationally to speak about his teaching methods and his resources have been used around the world to provide teaching for schools in Zimbabwe, for disabled students, and even for 18-21 year-olds in an Ohio prison.
At this year’s ceremony, the Varkey Foundation was also delighted to announce the launch of the new Chegg.org Global Student Prize, a $50,000 sister prize to the Global Teacher Prize, which will open applications and nominations in the new year. The Global Student Prize will create a powerful new platform to highlight the efforts of extraordinary students throughout world that are making a real impact on learning, the lives of their peers and on society beyond.
I also want to say a big thank you to all the world's teachers for all you have done to support learning during the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/kCBtNPRSBs
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) December 3, 2020
— Department for Education (@educationgovuk) December 3, 2020