The headteacher of Malton School was named Headteacher of the Year live on the BBC’s One Show yesterday. (25 November)

Rob Williams, who has been the head at Malton School in North Yorkshire for 14 years, was presented with the award after receiving a Silver Award in September.

He was selected from thousands of nominations in the Pearson National Teaching awards.

The annual ‘Oscars of teaching’ awards celebrate exceptional teachers and was founded in 1998 by Lord Puttnam to recognise the life-changing impact an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of the young people they work with.

Mr Williams, who was born in Cardiff in 1967, was recoginsed by the judges for implementing the pillars “support, inspire and thrive” into the day-to-day running of the school and developing a “front foot” approach alongside inspirational leadership.

The North-Yorkshire based principal was also credited for creating a learning environment which caters for students’ individual needs through a broad balance curriculum and a programme of personal development activities in which they can thrive.

On receiving his award, Mr Williams, whose family moved to Yorkshire in 1976, said: “The award is a huge surprise and a massive honour. The process, realising how many people within and connected to our school community have supported my nomination, is very humbling indeed.

“I want to say thank you to all who have helped me along the way; thank you to the whole staff team – this is a very significant tribute to them; and a special thanks to my children and loved ones for tolerating and understanding the additional time I have devoted to trying to help the loved ones of others.”

He added: “I am lucky. I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. It is a vocation that is so rewarding and refreshing, working with young people who have such energy and ideas, who constantly surprise and challenge you.

“There is genuinely never a dull moment! And finally, I want to thank the Pearson National Teaching Awards for these awards and the important recognition and boost that they give for the profession, for all working in education, especially in these very challenging times. Thank you!”

Alex Jones, Presenter of the One Show, said: “We all know the value of a great teacher, and Rob has proven himself to be both outstanding and inspirational.

“There has never been a more important time to celebrate the hard work that happens in our schools across the country, and we are delighted to do our bit to thank them.”

It was also noted that under Mr William’s leadership Malton School was very well placed to deal with the recent coronavirus lockdown and adjusted provisions – including adapting very quickly to online learning.

This included the success of an innovative iPad scheme and access to online learning strengthened the reputation of the school within the community and most recently led to it being praised as an exemplar of best practice by the Secretary of State for Education, Mr Gavin Williamson, in the education debate in the House of Commons on Monday (23 November).

Rod Anson, Chair of Governors at Malton School, said: “We have seen first-hand Rob’s quiet yet determined development of a wonderful community with an excellent learning environment and also his rigorous implementation of innovative ideas such as the weekly Personal Development Activities and iPads for all scheme that help to open up new horizons.

“These activities and the many partnerships he establishes succeed in ensuring every student in this rural North Yorkshire area can take full advantage of a breadth of opportunities and be well equipped to thrive in and contribute to this fast changing world.

“The culture of being the best you can be, while looking after each other, permeates throughout the school with Rob, students, staff and governors encouraging and inspiring each other to strive for excellence.”

Ryedale MP Kevin Hollinrake said it was a wonderful achievement and “so very well deserved”.

He added: “Congratulations to the whole school – pupils, staff, parents – amazing team effort.”

In September 2006, Mr Williams was appointed Headteacher at Malton School in North Yorkshire. The starting point was grappling with some poor behaviour by implementing a positive discipline system across the school and establishing a consistent culture and approach.

Mr William’s leadership style has been described as “calm and measured”, and this ethos has pervaded the school over time so that students feel safe, secure, happy and prepared to take risks to advance their learning.

Malton was the smallest secondary school Mr Williams had worked and it was the first time he had worked in a rural market town.

He quickly became passionate about the relationship between the school and the local community, seeking opportunities to further develop and strengthen this.

One of these was the campaign to build a high quality sports and leisure facility for the district. This was achieved in February 2011 with the opening by Archbishop Sentamu of the Malton Community Sports Centre on the school site.

The school has also welcomed the Malton Scouts and Guides onto the site with an established base. The second phase of the sports centre development has just received planning approval, continuing the strong vision of the school providing a centre of health, fitness and sporting excellence for all.

This year marked the 22nd year of the Pearson National Teaching Awards celebrating, award-winning teachers, teaching assistants, headteachers and lecturers across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Previously across the region a total of nine Silver awards, were picked up by teachers and/or schools in the 2020 Pearson National Teaching Awards.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “A massive congratulations to this year’s gold award winners – teachers and school staff truly deserve the national recognition for the work they do to motivate, inspire and support pupils day in, day out.

“This year has been like no other, and it is because of schools’ hard work that millions of pupils are able to be in the classroom receiving an outstanding education. I would like to thank every single teacher and staff member for what they have done for our children.”

Michael Morpurgo, celebrated author and former Children’s Laureate, and President of the Teaching Awards Trust, said: “We have long known the impact that one superb teacher can have, the young people they can inspire and the lives they can change. But this past year has shown us all, more than perhaps ever before, the true value of teachers.

“No one becomes a teacher for the applause it brings, and indeed too often it can feel a thankless role. That is why this coming week is so important. It is our opportunity to show our thanks, to praise their endeavours and to tell their stories.”

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson UK, added: “Congratulations to Rob and all of our wonderful Gold Award winners on their success. They have all displayed the most fantastic dedication to this superb profession and truly deserve to have their hard work recognised in this way.

“We want staff in schools and colleges across the country to know much deeply we appreciate the work they do and the impact they have. More than ever before we have gained a real understanding of the incredible work school and college staff do every day, and we are delighted to have had this week celebrating them. They deserve nothing less.”

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