Leeds headteacher nominated for $1 million education prize

Nathan Atkinson.
Nathan Atkinson.
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A Leeds headteacher who has worked with campaigner Jamie Oliver and coordinated a free ‘waste breakfast’ for thousands of children is one of four Britons in the running for a one million US dollar (£790,000) education prize.

Nathan Atkinson, 40, headteacher at Richmond Hill Primary School, has been included in the top 50 shortlist for next year’s Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize.

The 40-year-old coordinated a free “waste breakfast” for 10,000 school children from food that would have been thrown away despite being safe to eat.

Other UK teachers on the list include Peter Ferris, a 49-year-old drama teacher from Mercy College, Belfast.

Among the alumni he encouraged while teaching at the prestigious Italia Conti Academy of Performing Arts in London are singer Louise Redknapp, who is currently flying high on the BBC One dance competition show, comedian Russell Brand and actor Daniel Mays, star of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Adnan Mahmood, 29, a business and enterprise tutor from Barking & Dagenham College, Essex, and Raymond Chambers, 30, a computer science teacher from Brooke Weston Academy in Corby, Northamptonshire, are also in the running.

Mr Chambers entered the teaching profession by accident as a result of a last-minute Computer Science placement and now boasts more than a quarter of a million views on his YouTube education channel.

Now in its third year, the US award is organised by the Varkey Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation established to improve the standards of education for underprivileged children throughout the world.

It aims to recognise one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession and shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society.

The top 50 has been shortlisted from more than 20,000 nominations and applications from 179 countries from around the world.

It comprises teachers from 37 countries.

The final 10 candidates will be announced in February next year.

The winner will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on Sunday, March 19.