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Teacher / Tutor of the Year - Gary Rayworth (Chorlton High School) 

The Teacher/Tutor of the Year category in our Aspiration Awards honours educators who have gone over and above to support their learners. This could be anything from supporting a learner facing difficult circumstances, to helping learners to overcome obstacles and surpass expectations, or delivering innovative and high-quality teaching that helps learners to achieve their career goals. This year’s winner was Gary Rayworth, who has gone to exceptional lengths for his learners.  

Inspiring others  

Described by his colleagues as an “outstanding Technology teacher”, Gary Rayworth is the Curriculum Leader for Technology and Computing at Chorlton High School where he introduced and now teaches the NCFE level 2 Technical Award in Graphic Design. Many of the learners in Gary’s classes are from disadvantaged backgrounds and some often find school challenging, however he has managed to transform his learners through passion for teaching. Gary often seeks out innovative practice through research, modifying and applying his findings to his own work. As a result, this subject then often becomes a career path for many of his learners.  

Exceptional teaching  

With Gary’s innovative approaches he has helped develop not only the department but also the whole school, leading the online provision during lockdown. Gary always puts the learners’ needs first, which led him to work alongside a member of the Senior Leadership team to lead on the implementation of technology, such as Microsoft Teams, throughout the school. After investing hours of time developing his own knowledge and practice, this led to Gary being able to adapt it for the use of the whole school, delivering CPD sessions and coaching colleagues along the way.  

Through delivering exceptional teaching, Gary has managed to build excellent relationships with the learners, ensuring they’re supported in building their self-confidence and resilience, and that they have a basis for a productive climate for learning.  Whilst learners have been working at home through lockdown and completing homework, Gary would often give live feedback on their work, working well into the evening. In addition, he would run catch-up sessions and extension classes most mornings before the school day.  

Gary’s colleague Zoe Morris commented: “Whether in school or learning from home, the learners in his classes have received exceptional teaching. As a teacher, Gary is inspirational. He takes considerable pride in all of his work.”  

Gary reflects on the challenges of the last year: “I think everyone can agree that the last 18 months in the education sector has been beyond challenging, not just for the staff but more importantly for the learners who have had to adapt quickly to the changes as teachers get to grips with an ever-changing climate. My approach to everything I have done professionally in the last 18 months is to have a steadfast approach to ensuring that I always act in the best interest of my students and colleagues. This has at times meant thinking creatively about how to approach my work but also to be resilient to support others and develop my own leadership capability.” 

“I am incredibly proud to be nominated for this award. I couldn’t ask to work for a more caring or compassionate Headteacher, and I would like to acknowledge the support of my fellow colleagues as well, which is never out of reach working at Chorlton High School. I am always at ease when I am working with my students and supporting them with their learning, challenging them to achieve to the best of their ability and having the opportunity to develop their creativity through learning and skills development.”