Jacqui Birch, from St Peter’s CE Primary in Hindley, landed the gold Teacher of the Year at a Primary School award which was announced on BBC1 ’s The One Show.

She was surprised on the programme by Katya Jones from Strictly Come Dancing with the news, and also received a special recorded message from Sir Rod Stewart.

Selected from thousands of nominations, Jacqui was subsequently honoured at an awards ceremony in London alongside the other Gold Award winners across 15 other categories in the Pearson National Teaching Awards.

During lockdown Jacqui embraced technology, supporting learners with their studies and well-being remotely as well as producing a digital Christmas video instead of a nativity play.

A teacher for 15 years, she said: “I was absolutely delighted, I didn’t think I was going to win. This is just my day job. It’s a day job that I love doing.

“The reaction from the children was amazing, I was crying happy tears. This is for the children as well.

“I knew something was going on but I thought the One Show were just in to film clips for the awards, it was very unexpected.”

The process for the award started back in February after a parent contacted the school to praise Jacqui.

Headteacher Nicola Green said: “A parent had sent a message to say thank you for everything Jacqui has done for their child and that same day the nominations for the award opened so I put her forward for it.

“The school are very proud of Jacqui. I don’t think any of us believed it would go as big as it has.”

Jacqui is an inspirational educator who is a passionate advocate for children, working tirelessly to unlock their potential. She believes there is no reason why a child should not achieve.

Sadie Besley, Senior Director Operations at Randstad, supporter of The Award for Teacher of the Year in a Primary School, said: “In an incredibly challenging field Jacqui Birch stood out as an extraordinary teacher who gives so much every single day, and she should be very proud of her success.”

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