Inspiring teachers can change lives

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THE nation’s favourite headteacher has told how his own schooldays helped to shape his career path.

Jonny Mitchell, of Thornhill Community Academy which starred in Channel 4’s documentary series Educating Yorkshire, has spoken to the Yorkshire Evening Post as we launch our search to find inspiring teachers.

Mr Mitchell, who is set to take the helm at the Co-Operative Academy of Leeds in September, still remembers the teachers who inspired him as child.

He attended Shaw Cross Junior and Infant School, Shaw Cross Junior and Infant School, Bywell Middle and then Earlsheaton High.

Mr Mitchell said: “I had lots of inspiring teachers.

“Mrs Batley at Shaw Cross who motivated me to seek out new learning, discover facts and figures, read widely – she was like a mother while I was at school.

“Mrs Wood at Bywell recognised I had a creative flair and a good mind, and urged me to push myself as much as possible to achieve as much as I could.

“Mr Butler at Earlsheaton – perhaps the funniest and most genuine man I have ever met: brilliant ability to bring things to life, teach ‘life lessons’, give advice.

“I still look back on all these brilliant teachers, and many more of them, and think how lucky I was to have them teaching me and guiding me.”

He said when interviewing teachers he looks for certain things.

“I look for a passion for young people – enthusiasm, energy, calmness, an understanding of the issues faced by children, emotional control and intelligence.

“Also a good sense of humour,” he said.

“Teachers who can motivate young people to express themselves, be creative, think for themselves will always be there.

“It is what makes schools days arguably the best days of your life.

“The job market and expectations have changed immeasurably, and it is important that young people entering the workforce have not only the qualifications but also the life skills required to be decent people.”


The Yorkshire Evening Post is called on readers to share their stories about their inspirational teachers.

Email your nominations to before Wednesday, February 4.