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Inspiring young minds lands graduate top award

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Published on 30 October 2018

Graduate Jonathan Wharton receives his award from Lee Mead
Graduate Jonathan Wharton receives his award from Lee Mead

A University of Sunderland graduate has won a top teaching award at a prestigious ceremony in London.

Jonathan Wharton, who graduated with a PGCE in Post Compulsory Education and Training just last year, has been named Further Education Lecturer of the Year at the 2018 Pearson Teaching Awards.

The drama lecturer’s award was presented to him by musical theatre star and television actor, Lee Mead, in a ceremony held at The Brewery in London.

The 25-year-old was one of just 13 inspiring teachers from across the country who were recognised with a Gold Plato Award, the UK’s Oscars for teachers.

Jonathan was praised by judges for being highly creative in finding ways to inspire and engage students and for delivering free drama workshops to secondary school pupils at Thornhill Academy in Sunderland, who otherwise would not be able to access creative arts education.

Jonathan, who is passionate about the arts being included in the curriculum and an extremely modest award winner, said: “It was an absolute honour to be surrounded by so many inspirational people at the award ceremony.

“I can’t believe how lucky I have been to receive this accolade and I’m still not sure as to why I have. But I’m going to make sure that I spend the rest of my teaching career trying my hardest to prove that I was the right choice. I am extremely grateful to the Pearson Teaching Awards.”

The award ceremony, which was hosted by BBC TV presenters Anita Rani and Sean Fletcher, is to be televised on BBC2 as Britain’s Classroom Heroes on Sunday 28 October at 6pm.

Jane Reed, Faculty Director for Digital, Creative and Business at Sunderland College, said: “In his short time as a lecturer within the drama department, Jonathan has completely transformed the dynamics of the team. He is hard working, dedicated and uses his initiative to inspire students and enrich their experience.”

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.”

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