Andria Zafirakou, a teacher of art and textiles in Brent, wins The Global Teacher Prize. She is the first UK teacher to win the award. In her acceptance speech she celebrated her school, fellow teachers everywhere, and the power of the arts to transform lives.
Andria Zafirakou during her speech, shared the award with her school and its students at Alperton Community School in Brent. She described her school as being a beautifully diverse community and describes the many challenges faced by her students. Andria continued:
'Since I was a young child, my dream was to be an art and textiles teacher. I am proud to be an art and design teacher. But the arts have to fight for space in the curriculum and for funding. They are the first budgets to be cut, this is so wrong.
'The arts teach students how to think creatively, which will be important for the jobs they are likely to do when they leave school. They also teach resilience and that perseverance can pay off. For students the arts provide a sanctuary, a place where they can safely express themselves and connect with their identity. We know that students that spend more time on the arts can become more successful in the rest of their subjects too. My students are evidence of this, they thrive. Look at our results for a curriculum that embraces the arts'
Andria ended her speech celebrating the award with her fellow finalists and for all the teachers back home, the award, she says 'this is for all of us.'
Andria is the first UK teacher to be awarded the prize. On behalf of all NSEAD members and supporters, congratulates Andria for this immense achievement. Thank you for representing our subject and for sharing, on a global stage, the value of arts in education.
Listen to Andria's Zafirakou's full acceptance speech here.