Ilford educator wins teacher of the year at Tes Awards 2021

Amara Copsey, 23, winner of the new teacher of the year at the Tes Awards 2021

Amara Copsey, 23, who teaches at Caterham High School, won new teacher of the year at the Tes Awards 2021 - Credit: Tom Barnes

A teacher at an Ilford school has been recognised as a "true inspiration" at the Tes Awards 2021. 

Judges said Redbridge-born Amara Copsey, 23, who works at Caterham High School in Clayhall, was named new teacher of the year in the national awards. 

Amara, thought to be the youngest ever recipient of the award, paid tribute to her fellow teachers, who she says have supported her “every minute of the day” for the past two years. 

She said: “Nothing really prepares you for seeing your face as the winner of a national teaching award. It is all a bit surreal but in a good way. 

“I have to thank the history department, my teaching mentors, the headteacher and everyone at the school who has supported me every minute of every day.” 

Amara, a Teach First graduate who has already been promoted to head of house at Caterham, received praise from the judges for creating projects to promote diversity and community at the school. 

She said: “I have learned so much working alongside such outstanding and kind educators who are truly passionate about impacting young people’s lives. 

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“Within months of starting teaching, we were in the middle of a pandemic so it was hard to adjust but no training can prepare you for that. 

“It was a difficult introduction to teaching but again I had so much support and learned to adapt, my passion for teaching and our children burns even brighter now.” 

TES Judge Sam Twiselton said: “The future of the teaching profession is in excellent hands if this year’s nominations are anything to go by. 

“Amara Copsey is a truly inspirational example of this as her passion for her subject, her pupils and the broader school community really stood out.” 

Caterham High School headteacher Belinda Chapple said: “Amara is not only an exceptional teacher but also an exceptional young person who has already had a hugely positive impact on the students and school. 

“She is among a raft of very passionate, very talented young teachers at the school who are contributing to our continued and sustained improvement.”