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Maths teacher from London in world's top 10

17/02/2016 Joanna
Colin Hegarty, a maths teacher from London, is one of ten finalists for a global teaching prize.

The Global Teacher Prize, set up by the Varkey Foundation, the charitable arm of the Gems international education firm, is aimed at "unearthing thousands of stories of heroes that have transformed young people's lives".

The final top ten shortlist has now been published, following entries from teachers spanning 148 countries. The winner will receive a prize of a $1 million (£690,000) at an awards ceremony in March.

Mr Hegarty is the only UK finalist, alongside teachers from the United States, Australia, India, Finland and Kenya.

His passion as a teacher is obvious. Mr Hegarty describes maths as "quite addictive" and has set up a website with videos teaching how to solve maths problems. The idea began when one of his pupils had to go overseas to care for his sick father and Mr Hegarty put materials online so that he could keep up with his maths lessons.

The outstanding teacher rejects the idea that some people are inherently "good at maths". He suggests that pupils can greatly benefit from online videos of the subject, as it allows them to look at the problems repeatedly until they understand.

Speaking of The Global Teacher Prize, Mr Hegarty said it was good to see a competition that "elevated the status of teachers".

Mike Ellicock, chief executive of National Numeracy, welcomed the recognition of the importance of maths teaching, saying: "We know that good numeracy is the best protection against unemployment, low wages and poor health.

"We also know that there is no 'maths gene'. Instead, everyone can use numbers and data to make good decisions - and it is fantastic to see this recognition for Colin's work to enable that."

Last year's Global Teacher Prize winner was Nancie Atwell from the United States, who donated her prize money to her school. Richard Spence, a teacher from Middlesbrough, also reached the top 10.

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, said he wanted the prize to "shine a powerful spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over the UK and throughout the world every day".

Posted by Alan DouglasADNFCR-2164-ID-801812752-ADNFCR
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