Search on to find inspiring Leeds teachers

Sir John Townsley, pictured at Morley Academy. PIC: Simon Hulme
Sir John Townsley, pictured at Morley Academy. PIC: Simon Hulme
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They’re the teachers who deserve top marks for their inspirational influence on the lives of children across Leeds.

Today the Yorkshire Evening Post is launching its search to celebrate those shining stars in the city’s classrooms.

And headteacher Sir John Townsley, who was knighted in the New Year’s Honours list for his services to education, knows only too well how much of a difference teachers make to children’s lives.

He began his teaching career at John Smeaton high school in Leeds 28 years ago, and is now executive principal of the Ruth Gorse Academy Trust, which runs Morley and Farnley academies, and the Ruth Gorse Academy, a £28m free school which opened this year.

Sir John, who praised the efforts of his own staff, said that great teachers are remembered by students even after they have left the classroom.

He said: “Overall, great teachers are the same people today as they were when I was at school and beyond that in the earlier part of the last century.

“Great teachers are remembered by students long after they leave school.

“They inspire confidence, a love of their subject and a determination to success.

“I remain keen to find teachers who are passionate about their subject and about the difference that they can make to young people.”

And he said digital technology has helped to provide “incredible opportunities” for both teachers and students in the classroom.

Sir John, who attended Holy Family Primary School, in Pontefract, recalls some of the teachers who inspired him during his learning journey.

“I benefited from going to great schools myself,” he said.

“I remember Mr Maw with great fondness.

“I then attended Selby Grammar School where I remember great mathematics teaching from Mr Reather and inspiring English teaching from Mrs Peacock.

“Most importantly all of us were in awe of our headteacher Mr Darley who knew all of us by first name and would settle for nothing but the best from each and every one of us.

“He was a great man.”

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The YEP is calling on readers to share their stories about their inspirational teachers.

We want to highlight the hard work of those who are making a difference to children’s lives across the city.

Tell us who has inspired you at school or that special teacher who has gone the extra mile to help your child.

Let us know your personal stories and journeys via our special button on the YEP website.

Readers can also nominate via email or letter, we need no more than 150 words about why your teacher is the best.

Email your stories to before the closing date on Wednesday, February 4.