A drama lecturer at Sunderland College has won a top teaching award at a prestigious ceremony in London.

Jonathan Wharton, a newly qualified teacher who started at the College as maternity leave cover, has been named Further Education Lecturer of the Year at the 2018 Pearson Teaching Awards.

His award was presented to him by musical theatre star and television actor, Lee Mead, in a glittering ceremony held at The Brewery in London. Jonathan 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.

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 and everyone at Sunderland College.”

The award ceremony, which was hosted by BBC TV presenters Anita Rani and Sean Fletcher, is to be televised on BBC 2 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.

“It is extremely fulfilling to see Jonathan achieving success with a national award. This is not only a great achievement for Jonathan, the College and Sunderland, but it will also help to shine a light on drama as a significant subject within the core curriculum.”

The Pearson Teaching Awards are an annual celebration of exceptional teachers, 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 teach.

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.”

Michael Morpurgo, Children’s Author and President of the Pearson’s Teaching Awards said:

“Teachers are the quiet heroes. By telling their stories, by highlighting their skill and dedication, we can do some justice to them and to the whole profession.”

For more information about drama and other creative arts courses at Sunderland College, ring 0191 511 6000, email [email protected] or go to www.sunderlandcollege.ac.uk


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