An inspirational lecturer who has ‘invaded’ lessons, led trips to Athens, authored four books and quadrupled the intake of students on his course has been named teacher of the year.
Peter Wright impressed judges of the Times Education Supplement’s Further Education Awards 2015 with his passion for teaching classical civilisation at Blackpool Sixth Form College.
The father-of-two, born and bred in Blackpool, was a student at the sixth form on Blackpool Old Road as a teenager, before studying at Lancaster University and returning to his alma mater in 2006 to teach.
When he started out teaching classical civilisation the course intake stood at just 50, but his infectious enthusiasm for the subject saw numbers rise to 200 within a year.
It was this, coupled with “his popularity and his fervour for ancient history”, judges said, that clinched him the top national award.
Mr Wright, 31, said: “It was awesome to win. I’d been chuffed just to be shortlisted so I was really, genuinely shocked to win. To win a national award, to get that recognition from those people, is fantastic. I’d like to think the judges appreciated all the different opportunities we try to give the students.”
Since taking on his job, and being promoted to course leader for the subject, Mr Wright has run trips to archaeological sites across the country, as well as to the Acropolis in Athens.
He has also written four books on the topic, hosted online seminars to boost his students’ learning, and hosts taster sessions for secondary school pupils to learn about classical civilisations.
And along with some of his students, all dressed as Romans, Mr Wright has ‘invaded’ primary school classes to make history come to life for younger children.
He said: “I’ve always thought that classical civilisations is viewed as a private school subject but I think it can be a real tool in broadening pupils’ aspirations.
“People love good stories and this is such a relevant subject, it’s not just history, there’s social stuff, politics, art, literature.”
Mr Wright had been nominated for the award by his students and colleagues.
He joined hundreds of other teachers at the awards ceremony held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, in London, on Friday.