Headteacher’s bid to be classroom hero

Patrick Ferguson, principal at Hope Academy, Newton-Le-Willows.
Patrick Ferguson, principal at Hope Academy, Newton-Le-Willows.
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A headteacher is in the running to be named one of Britain’s classroom heroes when he attends a prestigious education awards ceremony.

Patrick Ferguson, from Hope Academy in Newton-le-Willows, will find out later this month if he has won a UK Pearson Teaching Award at a glittering event in London.

He was nominated for the top prize, known as a Gold Plato Award, by pupils, parents and colleagues from the school which he arrived at last year.

Mr Ferguson has already been recognised as one of the UK’s 52 Silver Teaching Award winners, taking the prize in the Headteacher of the Year in a Secondary School category.

He now waits to find out if he has scooped one of the 10 Gold Plato awards handed out to celebrate the very best of the country’s teaching.

Mr Ferguson also has a shot at TV stardom as the ceremony at The Guildhall in London, hosted by Hugh Dennis, the star of sitcom Outnumbered and satirical show Mock the Week, will be broadcast on BBC2 a week after it takes place on October 23.

The Pearson Teaching Awards were founded in 1999 by Lord Puttnam and recognise the life-changing impact of an inspirational teacher on the lives of the young people they teach.

The gongs are handed out in categories including excellence in special needs education and lifetime achievements.

Mr Ferguson arrived at Hope Academy when it was languishing in special measures, having taken his previous school to the top Ofsted rating of outstanding.

His time at the helm has already seen dramatic changes, with progress including dramatically-improved attendance, raised pupil aspiration and inspectors giving it a ranking of good.

Actor and comedian Hugh Dennis, host of this year’s BBC Classroom Heroes, said: “I am genuinely proud and honoured to be hosting this year’s ceremony. “The inspiration and support of my fantastic teachers got me to where I am today, and I look forward to joining in and celebrating other teachers’ incredible achievements.”

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson UK, said: “Great teaching makes the biggest difference to a child’s education and it’s incredibly important that we take this moment each year to recognise ​that.”

The awards ceremony is on October 23 and will be broadcast on BBC2 on October 30.