Alperton Community School arts and textiles teacher Andria Zafirakou was yesterday (March 18) awarded the prestigious Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize, winning a prize worth $1m.
Her historic achievement makes her the first UK winner of the Global Teacher Prize, beating 30,000 teachers nominated from more than 170 countries.
The award recognised Andria's work going above and beyond to help pupils reach their potential, working within a school where many of the children come from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds. In an effort to build links with pupils she learned phrases in languages including Gujarati, Hindi and Tamil, redesigned the curriculum to make it more accessible and arranged after school and weekend support for students.
In her acceptance speech Andria said:
"The community where I teach in Brent is beautifully diverse and indeed is one of the most multicultural communities in the world.
"Our school celebrates diversity and shapes students into real citizens who accept and appreciate one another."
Racing driver Lewis Hamilton, Olympic champion Mo Farah, former US vice president Al Gore and former UK prime minister Tony Blair all attended the ceremony.
Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, said:
"Congratulations to Andria on this amazing and well deserved achievement, beating over 30,000 other teachers from around the world. This award shows her outstanding dedication and commitment to supporting young people's learning and development and ensuring that every student has the chance to succeed.
"In Brent we're committed to giving all children the best possible start in life. With 96% of schools in the borough rated 'good' or 'outstanding' by Ofsted, I'm proud that with great teachers like Andria we are raising the hopes and aspirations for all our young people to be the best and to be the next generation of leaders and captains of industry everywhere. "