An art and textiles teacher from an inner-city school in the UK has won a million-dollar prize for her “enormous dedication” to her work. Andria Zafirakou was recognised for her work at Alperton Community School in Brent, north-west London, which is in one of the poorest areas of the country and pupils come from a variety of backgrounds.
She has taken the time to learn how to say basic greetings in many of the 35 languages spoken at the school, including Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil and Portuguese, to help parents feel welcome and included.
She also redesigned the curriculum with fellow teachers to make it relevant to pupils, helped set up girls-only sports clubs for those from conservative communities and is also known for taking the time to understand students’ lives by visiting their homes and even joining them on the bus.
She is the first UK teacher to win the award after being one of 10 finalists shortlisted for the fourth annual Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize.