In what has been a hugely challenging year, a Merseyside teacher was awarded for going above and beyond to help children during the pandemic.

Knotty Ash teacher David Swanson was presented with a Gold Award for Excellence in Special Needs Education, and has even appeared on The One Show.

The St Vincent’s teacher was named as one of the nation’s most inspiring teachers and won a prestigious Pearson National Teaching Gold Award for his trailblazing work with children.

David, a former professional hockey player, worked tirelessly to engage marginalised communities and get the best out of his students.

He has inspired his visually impaired students to thrive in swimming, free running, and blind football, with students even making the England squad due to his support.

Nationally and internationally he has led projects to support sighted and visually impaired students and help them work together to understand each other better.

David also worked in Ethiopia and helped visually impaired students manage their own agriculture space on school grounds, helping with future employment opportunities as well as supporting the school canteen.

David’s work was recognised as truly vital and as life-changing for some students – especially during a year where teachers have had to work even harder because of lockdown.

As well as David, a number of other teachers from across the country were honoured with awards.

But David was selected from thousands of nominations.

He said: “This award, of course, means a lot to me. But I do this job simply because it is a privilege to work with children and young people at St Vincent’s School, who are daily overcoming many barriers and making wonderful progress.

“To be able to be part of that is something I am incredibly proud of and humbled by.”

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson UK, said David and other winners “deserve nothing less” than to be celebrated.

He said: “Congratulations to David and all of our wonderful Gold Award winners on their success. They have all displayed the most fantastic dedication to this superb profession and truly deserve to have their hard work recognised in this way.

“We want staff in schools and colleges across the country to know much deeply we appreciate the work they do and the impact they have. More than ever before we have gained a real understanding of the incredible work school and college staff do every day, and we are delighted to have had this week celebrating them. They deserve nothing less.”