A DEDICATED teacher has been honoured for his work in helping students to become better citizens.
Paul Sowerby, a teacher at Catcote Academy, in Hartlepool, was named Inspirational Teacher of Social Action 2014 during a ceremony at London’s HM Treasury.
The award, from The Citizenship Foundation’s Giving Nation scheme, was presented for the work he has done with students from the Catcote Road-based academy in the community.
Paul, who beat off competition from 1,620 other UK teachers to win the accolade, won the “spirit” category of the award, for alternative education including working with children with special education needs.
He described the honour as “unexpected”.
The awards, which are in their first year, aim to change the public’s perception of young people for the better, as the youngsters try to change their local area.
Over the past three years, Paul has worked with three groups of 10 students from the college on a number of projects.
The two previous initiatives have seen the students themselves pick up a volunteering award for two consecutive years in the scheme.
The 2012 project saw students volunteering at Blackhall’s Yohden Care Complex over 10 weeks.
They took part in games, arts and crafts with the home’s residents, showed them how to make a birdbox and built a rock garden.
Last year, Catcote students volunteered for Hartlepool Families First at Cafe 177, helping to renovate a rooftop garden for the youngsters who use the facilities. This year, the young people have been helping with Hartlepool Foodbank, collecting food at Tesco, organising their own collection and making a recipe book to spice up bland food.
Billingham man Paul who has been teaching for five years, starting at Dyke House Sports and Technology College and also at Hartlepool Pupil Referral Unit, attended the awards with wife Leanne.
He said: “I’m totally shocked really, to be awarded, because I didn’t expect anything.
“It was a nice gesture for them to give an award to a teacher. It makes me proud to have worked with the school and the kids I have managed to work with over the years.
“It’s more to do with what they got out of it really.
“Coming from the behavioural side of the school, the kids I work with don’t really get recognised for many things and they don’t expect to get these exam results.
“To be able to say I was involved with the scheme, and change perceptions, is brilliant.”