Wembley maths teacher battling for $1m global prize ‘already a winner’

Colin Hegarty with PM David Cameron

Colin Hegarty with PM David Cameron - Credit: Archant

A teacher from a school in Wembley who could scoop $1million after being named as one of the best maths tutors in the world said he is already a winner.

Colin Hegarty, who is on sabbatical from his post at Preston Manor School in Carlton Avenue East, could pocket the £706,000 jackpot if he wins the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2016.

The 33-year-old will battle it out with nine others from across the globe to win the award dubbed the “Nobel Prize for teaching thanks to his groundbreaking free maths tutorial website.

He said: “I’m not really interested in winning, I’ve already won.

“This is about the profession and telling teaching stories. How do you differentiate the competition? You can’t as some of them are teaching in war zones.”

The names of the final 10 was announced by world-famous physicists and author Stephen Hawkins last month.

Mr Hegarty said: “Stephen Hawkins is a total legend.

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“A man like that whose brain has advanced the planet, I was on his brain for one second.”

The award-winning teacher, who grew up in a council flat in Kilburn, started the website four years ago to help out a pupil who was forced to move abroad to care for his father.

His core concept remains free maths tutoring for those who are least able to afford the extra help.

He records himself teaching the majority of the GSCE and A-Level syllabus and has uploaded 1,500 tutorials onto online video-sharing site Youtube.

His tutorials have been viewed more than 5.5 million times across 224 territories.

He has witnessed a surge in visits to his website since he was named as a finalist and has been working on a new upgraded website hegartymaths.com with fellow teacher Brian Arnold and former student Dan Keeble which includes assessments and quizzes.

He said: “Around 800 schools have signed up to it in the last three weeks. It’s pretty crazy.”

Last year Mr Hegarty was named Teacher of the Year UK by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Asked if he was nervous at attending the finals in Dubai, he said: “I’m not going to worry about it. “The top 50 teachers from this year and top 50 from last year are all meeting up and sharing practice and ideas.

“It’s going to be amazing just to meet 99 legends of teaching in one room.”

The winner will be announced on March 12.

For more information about the remaining contestants visit globalteacherprize.org.