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A TOP Tyneside teacher has scooped a national award.

Amanda Gowland, from Whickham School and Sports College in Gateshead, has been named Teacher of the Year, beating dozens of finalists.

The glittering ceremony for the first Delivering Diplomas Awards was held in London recently.

The awards aim to recognise the excellent work taking place in schools around the country which offer the new diploma qualification.

Amanda was praised for her work with students, with the panel of judges acknowledging her dedication and enthusiasm for the diploma course.

She has led the way through the Gateway for the Society Health and Development Diploma and has recruited 30 students in Years 10 and 11.

Her hard work on engaging employers and ensuring students get the most out of their work placements has seen previously disaffected students taking part in high-level research and assignments.

RUNNER-head Val She also frequently hosts visits from universities, as well as other schools and colleges, to share advice and tips.

However, Amanda remains modest about her win. She said: "I don't see this as just an award for me, but one for the whole consortium.

"So many people were mentioned in my nomination and without all of their help I certainly wouldn't have won."

Clive James CBE, chairman of GMTV, presented Amanda with the award and praised her commitment to the new diploma.

He said: "The diploma offers students the qualification we have always wanted.

"More than 3,000 employers are involved and are supporting its continued development. Amanda has shown an incredible commitment to her students and the diploma qualification."

One of the runnersup in the Teacher of the Year category was Val Wigham, deputy headteacher at Kenton School in Newcastle.

Val was nominated for leading the preparation and delivery of the diploma programme across several subject areas, including travel and tourism and creative media.

Deputy Wigham Pete Henshaw, chair of the awards' judging panel, added: "Each one of the finalists has made an exceptional contribution towards the development and delivery of the new diplomas.

"I was thrilled to have a deputy headteacher like Val in the shortlist.

Over the period of diploma development, Val has played a significant part in showing that the diploma can offer great opportunities for learners and teachers."

The diploma was introduced in 2008 as an alternative to A-levels, offering students vocational and practical skills by combining classroom work with work experience.


RUNNER-UP: Deputy head Val Wigham CELEBRATING: Amanda Gowland at Whickham School and Sports College
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 1, 2010
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