City College Lecturer Honoured in National Celebration of Teaching

19 June 2019 | Access to HE & GCSEs, College News

City College Plymouth lecturer, Brian Banks, has won a Silver Teaching Award in the category FE Lecturer of the Year and has been shortlisted for a Gold Award as part of the UK’s ‘Oscars for Teachers.’

Selected from thousands of nominations, Brian is one of just 68 Silver Award winners across the country who is being celebrated today [19 June], on ‘Thank A Teacher Day’, as the Pearson National Teaching Awards marks its 21st year of celebrating excellence in education.

Award-winning Brian was presented with a prestigious Pearson Silver Teaching Award trophy at the College to celebrate his outstanding achievement.

Brian said: “I was amazed just to be shortlisted for the Pearson’s competition, never mind win the silver award, and to be considered so highly by the judges, staff and students is humbling. I work with amazing people every day, from our wonderful Access to HE lecturers to our superb adult learners, and I’m embarrassed to be singled out from among such company. If I’m to be considered good at this job, then it’s only because I have a love and a thirst for learning which I try to pass on to my students. Being recognised for my teaching is a surprise and a joy, but the honour comes from helping our students achieve their dream of becoming healthcare professionals across the South West. In my mind these are the true heroes, and they make winners of us all.”  

Originally from Belfast, Brian has had a varied and interesting life. For his work with sixth formers as part of a Northern Ireland Peace Project in 1990, Brian won a ‘People of the Year’ award in Ireland. He served for a time as a medic in the Territorial Army in Belfast, before finishing his PGCE in Queen’s University Belfast. His first teaching position was at Campbell College, in Northern Ireland.

On moving to England, Brian started a small web-design business, developing his computing and programming – skills he has since put to great use in his teaching and writing. Missing teaching, Brian took up a position as tutor with Plymouth City Council, moving to City College Plymouth in 2014.

Jackie Grubb, Principal & Chief Executive at the College, said: “Brian is an exceptional role model to his students and colleagues and I am delighted that he has been recognised with this prestigious national award. Brian’s commitment, support and inspirational approach to teaching and learning make him a highly respected lecturer whose energy is infectious. Brian’s lessons are extraordinary and his techniques and inventiveness are now legendary at the College.”

One of Brian’s students said: “He is packed full of charisma. His crazy stories are so memorable that even two years later I found myself recalling them and remembering the lesson behind them!” Another added: “He teaches in a way that makes the subject accessible to everyone … whether you learn practically, visually, by reading or by listening – he teaches in three or four different ways.”

The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of exceptional teachers, founded in 1998 by Lord Puttnam to recognise the life-changing impact an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of the young people they teach – many of whom go on to train as teachers themselves thanks to the significant impact their teachers have had on them.

Brian has also been shortlisted to win one of just 13 Gold Awards at the UK’s ‘Oscars for Teachers.’ He will join fellow Silver Award winners, along with three Scottish Education Award winners and three winners of the Professional Teaching Awards Cymru, at the 21st UK ceremony of the Pearson Teaching Awards. It is a glittering event held at the Roundhouse on 20 October. It is broadcast on BBC2 the following week, on 27 October, as ‘Britain’s Classroom Heroes’ as a showcase of excellence in education.

Previous award presenters include former Prime Ministers David Cameron and Tony Blair, acting legends Jenny Agutter, Alison Steadman and Sheila Hancock, as well as sports and TV personalities including Shirley Ballas, Helen Glover, Brendan Cole and Nadiya Hussain.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “To be shortlisted for this award from thousands of nominations across the UK is a fantastic achievement and a testament to all of the winners’ commitment to the profession. I’m delighted that we are supporting the Pearson Teaching Awards to recognise the life-changing effect inspirational teachers have on the lives of young people.”

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson UK, said: “Congratulations to all of our Silver Award winners being presented with a silver trophy by their pupils today. On Thank A Teacher Day, it’s a wonderful chance for them to say thank you to their award-winning teachers. We mustn’t forget that these pupils may well be the next generation of teachers, and that’s all thanks to the commitment of those currently in the profession. Recognising and celebrating teachers for the lasting impact they have on young people’s lives is crucial, and that’s why Pearson is delighted to support these Awards every year.”


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