UK maths teacher wins £33,000 global covid hero award

Jamie Frost

Maths Teacher Jamie Frost from South-West London has won a Covid Hero Award after his free tuition website helped students around the world study during the Covid-19 lockdown.

 

Jamie Frost, who works at Tiffin School in Kingston upon Thames, received a one-off prize £33,000 for going above and beyond in the coronavirus crisis to help keep pupils learning.

He was one of 10 finalists shortlisted for the sixth annual Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize.

His Dr Frost Maths tuition website that he runs from home had more than million-page views a day when schools shut amid Covid-19 and has had more than seven million teaching resource downloads. His online learning platform is funded by the Mayor of London's office, free to use and used worldwide.

The ceremony was broadcasted virtually from the Natural History Museum in London, actor Forest Whitaker announced that Mr Frost had been awarded special recognition.

On receiving the Covid Hero Award, Mr Frost said: “I feel absolutely fantastic”.

jamie frost winner

“It’s such an honour to receive this award and I’m just so happy that so many students have been able to benefit from my site, and that’s what I want really.”

Mr Frost was selected from more than 12,000 nominations and applications from over 140 countries for the Global Teacher Prize.

 In a video message, Whitaker said: “Your creativity and dedication have illuminated millions of minds for free. Thank you, Jamie. Thank you to all the world’s teachers.”

 

Despite not achieving the pass mark for his 11-plus exams, his own maths teacher knew he was able and would often let him get on with his own work while in the classroom. He had attended sixth form at Tiffin School, where he currently teaches, and took up the opportunity when offered work experience there.

While studying for his PhD in computer science he realised that he wanted to go into teaching when helping to educate undergraduates.

He told The Times that he 'hated' working in the banking sector, saying:' I was working on trading strategies for bond traders. 'I was just helping an institution with loads of money make more money. It wasn’t a very good feeling.'

 


Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in his video message, Mr Frost’s “ingenuity” had “given hope and support to millions of children throughout the world”.

Mr Johnson added: “It’s been incredible to see how teachers have adapted to home learning and used technology to continue with lessons throughout the pandemic.

“You don’t just represent the heroic teachers in the United Kingdom but also across the whole world.”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “I would like to send my warmest congratulations and thanks to Jamie for his outstanding innovation and dedication in helping pupils and fellow teachers around the world.

“It is a truly remarkable story, and I am pleased he is receiving the worldwide recognition he thoroughly deserves.”

 

Million-dollar prize

Comedian and actor Stephen Fry announced the main prize of £1million went to Ranjitsinh Disale, a village primary school teacher from India who was praised for improving the education of girls.

Varkey global teache prize

He started teaching at the school in 2009, when it was in a rundown building next to a cattle shed, according to organizers. School attendance was low and teenage marriage common. He also provides online science lessons for pupils in 83 countries and runs an international project building connections between young people in conflict zones.

Prize organisers said he was honoured for having "transformed the life chances" of girls at the Zilla Parishad Primary School in Paritewadi, in Maharashtra state.

 2020 winning teacher

 In his winning speech, Mr Disale said he would share half of the prize money with the nine runners-up in the competition - the first time the Global Teacher Prize winner has done this.

  

Andria Zafirakou has been the only British winner of the million-dollar prize. In 2018, she won the prize for her work as the deputy headteacher at Alperton Community School in Brent, West London.

andria zafirakou

At the time, she said: “At the end of the day, it's all about the kids and giving them the opportunities to find the best of themselves.” “Anything is possible.”

 

Founder of the Varkey Foundation, Sunny Varkey that set up the teachers' competition, said "by sharing the prize you teach the world the importance of giving".