A high school teacher from Hayes has won a national teaching award in recognition of his exceptional performance.
As many as 200 pupils of Barnhill Community High School went online to nominate mathematics teacher Preetmal Poonith for a Pearson Teaching Award.
The former accountant joined the school 12 years ago, looking for a short career break and some extra qualifications but enjoyed the experience so much he has stayed put ever since.
He has since taught 150 pupils a year, working to break their fear of maths.
Mr Poonith was awarded a Silver Pearson Teaching Award for Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School, after leading headteachers from across the country paid him a visit, spoke to his pupils and observed his lessons.
He is one of just 56 teachers across the country to be recognised in the awards and will be appearing at a glitzy West End ceremony in October, to be broadcast on the BBC.
Before that Mr Poonith will be visiting the House of Commons with his wife to be recognised for his achievements.
“In this country there is this stigma attached to mathematics,” he said.
“When I tell people I teach maths they all respond in the same way – ‘that’s such a difficult subject’ but it’s important to break that fear.”
Mr Poonith told getwestlondon about a pupil who joined in Year 7 with little knowledge of the subject and poor English skills. Within a year the girl was leading her class in the subject after the teacher gave up his time after school to coach her.
The pupil who first nominated him for an award was predicted a D in GCSE maths, a failing grade, but through their hard work together was able to achieve an A* grade, the highest possible.
He continued: “It’s about making the child know that they can do it. They are capable of doing it and they need that self belief.
“Last year I had a class of 28 in one of the lower sets. I made them believe they could achieve the best results and all 28 got grades from A* to B.”
“I must thank the children and all the staff at Barnhill Community High School who always believed in me and supported me.”
“We have heard a lot of bad news in the community over the last few weeks but good things are happening too and we need to keep that up.”