Inner-city teacher wins $1m prize

Inner-city teacher wins $1m prize

A British art teacher won a highly-competitive $1 million teaching prize on Sunday for her work with inner-city children in London, helping students feel welcome and safe in a borough with one of the highest murder rates in the country.

Ms Zafirakou, a teacher at Alperton Community School, was awarded for her work in the London borough of Brent.

"To be chosen from more than 30,000 nominees in 173 countries, is an incredible achievement and it's a fitting tribute to everything you've done for your pupils at Alperton Community School", she said.

With 130 languages spoken in the area, Zafirakou has learned basic phrases in Hindu, Tamil and Gujarati and visits pupils at home to strengthen their relationship with the school.

The ceremony at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai included a performance by singer Jennifer Hudson.

As a member of the school's senior leadership team, Andria has transformed her school's approach to reach often isolated young people so that they can engage in school life and perform to the best of their abilities.

Ms Zafirakou, who works as an art and textiles teacher, stressed the importance of funding arts programs in schools and said such programmes teach students how to think creatively, but also teach them resilience and perseverance. "That's how phenomenal they are".

In a video message, prime minister Theresa May said: 'You have shown enormous dedication and creativity in your work'. "So thank you for all you have done and continue to do".

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Four times Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton was involved in a stunt where he raced to the Global Teacher Prize 2018 ceremony in a Mercedes Benz GTC, escorted by three Dubai Police supercars (Ferrari, Mercedes SL AMG and Audi R8). In her own arts class, she worked with an "Artist in Residence" (Armando Alemdar) to creatively redesign the art curriculum to promote inspiration and help pupils confront and cope with the responsibilities of their complex home circumstances.

As a result, Alperton has now been awarded specialist school status in visual arts.

'I also found that some were being forced to play truant to cook meals in the allocated time slot they were permitted to use their shared home kitchen.

She was among 10 teachers in the running for the million-dollar teaching prize.

The award is presented by the Varkey Foundation.

Ms Zafirakou will receive one million United States dollars (around £715,000) and be asked to serve as a global ambassador for the Varkey Foundation.

The victor will walk away with $1 million which will be paid in equal instalments over 10 years on one condition - she continues teaching for at least five years.

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