A teacher at a specialist college outside Oswestry has been named as one of the nation’s most inspirational educators at a prestigious awards ceremony.

Stephen Evans won Gold in the Pearson National Teaching Awards for Excellence in Special Needs Education, beating thousands of nominated teachers.

As sports and leisure co-ordinator for Derwen College, in Gobowen, which caters for young people with a range of learning difficulties, Stephen’s students have a wide variety of complex special educational needs and disabilities.

Many arrive at college believing that sport is not for them but his impact on these students has been described as ‘life-changing’ as he works tirelessly to ensure that every young person is included in the huge range of activities he provides and is able to benefit from regular exercise.

He said: “Receiving this award is so special. To be recognised in this way is a proud moment for me. We are always looking to create better opportunities for our students, and we believe a healthy and happy young person will go on to achieve great things in life. It’s an inspirational journey to be part of. My colleagues and I all want to make a difference to our young people.

“This award is a real team effort. It’s such a powerful thing to have a positive impact on a student, and to do this work every day is more of a passion than a profession. I’m very honoured to receive this award.”

Stephen’s passion and drive has been instrumental in bringing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards to Derwen College, giving students the opportunity, motivation and self-belief to get involved with these challenging awards, encouraging them to strive and attain goals beyond their expectations.

This means disabled students who had never run before have completed half-marathons, and he has made a profound impact on every one of his students’ lives.

The Pearson National Teaching Awards were founded in 1998 and the winners have been honoured for their incredible work supporting learners across the country.

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