A TEACHING assistant from a school in Clacton has been named top of the class after winning a prestigious Pearson Teaching Award.

Clacton County High School’s product design technician James Poynter received a gold medal for his inspirational work in the classroom.

Mr Poynter was one of 13 winners honoured as ‘Britain’s classroom heroes’ at an award ceremony in London last night.

Now in its 20th year, the Pearson Teaching Awards celebrate outstanding teachers and teaching across the UK.

A spokesman for the awards said Mr Poynter arrives to work early and is always one of the last of the team to leave, giving additional time to his colleagues and the students in order for all of them to meet their potential.

He once stayed after school hours to help measure and laser cut new parts for one student’s work after realising it was incorrectly put together.

Thanks to his knowledge and enthusiasm, one parent commented how her daughter, who previously had no interest in engineering, is now looking for a future career in the RAF.

Another parent with a son who struggles with learning difficulties was also amazed at how James helped their child learn and engage with the rest of the class, having struggled with social interactions in the past.

Mr Poynter is constantly updating his knowledge of new technologies so that he can support the children to the best of their abilities, whilst also provide training for other members of the team.

Rod Bristow, president of Pearson UK, said: “A huge congratulations to all the 2018 Teaching Award winners on this fantastic achievement.

“Pearson is proud of its unwavering commitment to these awards.

“Life-changing education is the result, above all else, of great teaching. These Teaching Awards offer us the opportunity to pause and honour our teachers.”

Parents and students alike can recognise and thank the teachers who are making a difference by visiting teachingawards.com/thank-a-teacher/.