From education to employment

Award-winning teacher invited to Downing St to meet PM

An award-winning teacher enjoyed a “once in a lifetime experience” after being invited to Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister and Education Secretary.

Andrew Grant, who was named New North East Teacher of the Year in the Lord Glenamara Memorial Prize awards last July, attended the reception with around 50 other teachers and education leaders on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old, who only entered the profession four years ago after working as an NHS administrator, has had a huge impact at Durham Gateway – a specialist 14-16 centre for pupils who thrive in a vocational setting, which is part of the Bishop Auckland College Group.

Returning from the 90-minute reception, Andrew said: “It was a very enjoyable visit. I spoke briefly with Boris Johnson, who was there for nearly half an hour and gave a speech which was well received.

“I was also able to speak with the Secretary of State for Education Nadhim Zahawi for a few minutes as part of a small group of teachers discussing the Schools White Paper, published this week, and how the department was planning to tackle education issues.

“There were some constructive points raised that Mr Zahawi acknowledged and said he was looking to address in the near future.”

Andrew, of Dunston, Gateshead, said other highlights included walking up the famous staircase containing portraits of former prime ministers, adding: “All in all I really enjoyed the visit – I felt it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’m unlikely to repeat.”

Andrew’s prestigious invitation followed his Lord Glenamara Memorial Prize win. The award was introduced in 2012 to celebrate the life and dedication to public service of the late Ted Short (Lord Glenamara), the former Secretary of State for Education and Science and MP for Newcastle Central.

The winning submission described Andrew as being “a very approachable staff member with a wonderful sense of humour, a dedication to the cause and unswerving loyalty to his learners” and “an absolute inspiration to us all here at Durham Gateway”.

Examples of him going above and beyond the call of duty include working with students who struggled during lockdowns, meeting individually to show them how to use Microsoft Teams and offering additional tutorials in his own time for those who needed extra support.

Andrew has also been helping colleagues, mentoring trainee teachers looking to follow in his footsteps, and has played an instrumental role in the development of the science curriculum.

Natalie Davison-Terranova, Principal and Chief Executive of Bishop Auckland College, said his VIP visit was “richly deserved”. She added: “Andrew has an exceptional passion for teaching and has made a huge contribution to Durham Gateway in his four years, supporting learners and fellow teachers alike.

“I am delighted he was given a unique opportunity to discuss education policy with the Secretary of State at the heart of Government, an experience which will stay with him for the rest of his career.”

Andrew Grant at 10 Downing Street this week.

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