Teacher from Wembley school in the finals of global contest with $1m prize
PUBLISHED: 09:32 17 February 2016 | UPDATED: 09:32 17 February 2016
An award-winning teacher from a school in Wembley has made it to the finals of a global teaching prize which could see him walk away with $1million.
Colin Hegarty, a maths teacher from Preston Manor School in Carlton Avenue East, is one of 10 teachers shortlisted for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2016 having beaten more than 8,000 applicants.
The worldwide competition is in its second year and widely referred to as the Nobel Prize for teaching.
The US$1 million (£666,000) award is the largest prize of its kind.
The 33-year-old is currently taking a sabbatical from Preston Manor as he completes his upgraded website, Hegarty Maths, which his pupils are using as a tool to get them through their GCSE’s and A-Levels.
He added: “The nomination is for the work we’ve done on Youtube and the website we’ve made that teaches children maths for free - the impact that work has had in my school and also outside the UK.”
The Youtube videos have been viewed by more than five million students in more than 200 territories.
“It’s like having a private tutor at home but you don’t have to pay for it,” he added.
The former City accountant, who grew up on a council estate in Kilburn, said: “I don’t think it’s fair that some people can afford really expensive tuition and some children can’t. That’s the mission statement behind it, to hear it one more time.”
The maths mastermind made his first website three years ago with colleagues Brian Arnold and former student Dan Keeble.
He won £20,000 after entering the Shine Trust’s national teaching competition which he used to develop his site, making it more interactive and personal for pupils.
Last year he was awarded Teacher of the Year for most outstanding use of technology in the annual Plato ceremony, receiving his award from David Cameron.
He said: “This prize, I know it’s a long shot, but if we do win it, it’s what we need. We have students we used to teach coming in and interning for us. We’d like to make this into an academy, grow this thing.
“You need money for things like that. We either win it which will make it so much easier or we apply for funding. We can build it but we need a bit of help. We don’t want it to just die because we didn’t have the money to make it bigger.”
The final ceremony in March will be live streamed from Dubai.
Last year’s winner was American teacher Nancie Atwell, who visited Capital City Academy in Willesden last month.