The 2018 Global Teacher Prize winner is launching a new initiative to promote creativity in schools
In 2018, Andria Zafirakou won the Global Teacher Prize in recognition of the extraordinary contribution she has made to education in London as a teacher of arts and textiles.
Andria teaches at Alperton Community School, a secondary school academy in the inner city borough of Brent. Brent is one of the most ethnically diverse places in the country and 130 languages are spoken in its schools. Its pupils come from some of the poorest families in Britain, many sharing one house with five other families, many exposed to gang violence.
Working as an art and textiles teacher, and as a member of the senior leadership team, Andria redesigned the curriculum across all subjects from scratch – carefully working alongside other teachers – to have it resonate with her pupils. Andria’s determination to move beyond an identikit school curriculum has seen Alperton awarded the Institute of Education’s Professional Development Platinum Mark, an honour fewer than 10 British schools have ever achieved.
Thanks to her efforts, Alperton is now in the top 1 to 5% of the country in terms of qualifications and accreditations. This as a colossal achievement given how low the students’ starting points were and how rapidly they progressed during their five to seven years at the school, a point recognised by the national inspection team.
“In recent times, there has been a decline in children choosing to study arts at GCSE, or enter into the workplace in an arts based job. Artists in Residence brings prestigious artists into schools and enables students to envision an exciting world they can be part of. This programme is not just about celebrities performing inspirational speeches; it is about real exposure to inspirational experiences, lasting creative relationships, and inspiring children to start a journey into artistic industries.”