Tributes as ‘outstanding’ deputy head retires

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The deputy headteacher of a St Helens primary school has been recognised for his service to teaching after picking up a lifetime achievement award.

Mark Thomas, who has taught at Parish C.E Primary School in Charles Street for the past 13 years, was one of just 56 winners across England, Northern Ireland and Wales who celebrated on Thank a Teacher Day on 16 June after being presented with his prestigious Silver Pearson Teaching Award.

The Pearson Teaching Awards are an annual celebration of exceptional teachers, created to recognise the life-changing impact an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of the young people they teach.

Mark, who retires at the end of the next school term after a 31-year career in teaching, will now join fellow Silver Award winners at the UK final of the Pearson Teaching Awards, a glittering ceremony held in central London on 22 October.

There, they will find out which of them has won one of just 11 Gold Plato Awards, the UK’s “Oscars for Teachers”.

This ceremony, titled “Britain’s Classroom Heroes”, will be filmed and broadcast by the BBC as a showcase of excellence in education.

Previous award presenters have included former prime ministers David Cameron and Tony Blair, acting legends Alison Steadman, Sheila Hancock and Timothy West and sports and TV personalities including Helen Glover, Brendan Cole and Nadiya Hussain.

Headteacher Lynne Ryder said: “During my career I have worked with many talented teachers, but Mark stands head and shoulders above the rest.

“The example he has set throughout his career has been truly inspirational. He is an exceptional teacher and leader and I am delighted that his achievements have been recognised by this prestigious award.”