From the Sunderland Echo– By Sue Kirby

Jonathan Wharton, a lecturer at Sunderland College has been honoured with a Gold Award in the 20th year of the Pearson Teaching Award.

“Teachers are the quiet heroes”
Michael Morpurgo

Jonathan was announced the FE Lecturer of the Year for his inspirational work in the classroom during a ceremony broadcast last night on BBC2.

The show, Britain’s Classroom Heroes, was hosted by BBC presenters Anita Rani and Sean Fletcher.

The Wearside college drama lecturer was one of 13 winners honoured for inspirational work and outstanding achievements in the classroom.

Established by Lord Puttnam, the Pearson Teaching Awards celebrate outstanding teachers and teaching across the UK.

Jonathan was nominated for the accolade by pupils, parents and colleagues from Sunderland College.

In a short time as a lecturer, on a fixed term maternity contract, Jonathan has completely transformed the dynamics within the drama department.

A spokesman for the Pearson Teaching Awards, said: “He has created a wealth of opportunities for the learners he teaches, and is highly creative in finding ways to inspire and engage everyone.

“Alongside all the hard work and dedication Jonathan gives Sunderland College, he also works with Thornhill Academy, where he delivers free drama sessions to students who would otherwise not be able to access such activities.” This is an enormous help to the community as it gives the children the chance to be involved and come together as a tighter society.

Jonathan is extremely passionate about the arts being included in education and for the past eight months, he has implemented programmes to engage learners into seeing creative arts as future employment opportunities.

His proactive thinking into how to transform the learning environment to become more stimulating and meaningful has resulted in a more enriched classroom, increased productivity within the department, and inspired learners.

Michael Morpurgo, Children’s Author and President of the Pearson’s Teaching Awards, praised the winners.

He said: “Teachers are the quiet heroes. By telling their stories, by highlighting their skill and dedication, we can do some justice to them and to the whole profession.

“Through the Teaching Awards, we hope to enhance the reputation and value of the teachers in our lives, their importance in our society, and thus help to encourage the most talented and committed young people to become teachers.”

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