Primary school teacher Andrew Moffat, who educates children about LGBT+ rights and issues, is the only UK finalist for the prestigious Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize.
Moffat was announced as one of the 10 finalists for the award in a video released on Wednesday (February 20) featuring X-Men actor Hugh Jackman, who called teachers “real superheroes” as “they’re the ones that change the world.”
Moffat, who is openly gay, is being recognised for his “No Outsiders” programme, launched in 2014, which teaches children about inclusivity and diversity.
“A big challenge for us is to teach our children that there are different people out there,” Moffat said in a video showcasing his work at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham, published on the website of the Global Teacher Prize and on YouTube.
“This is a resource that helps school and gives schools a framework through which to teach children that we are all different but actually that’s fantastic,” he added, describing his programme.
The video also features interviews with parents of the Parkfield Community School’s pupils, who express support for Moffat’s work.
Andrew Moffat has faced protests for teaching about LGBT+ rights
Not featured in the video is another group of parents, mostly of strong religious backgrounds, who have been protesting and petitioning against Moffat’s teachings on LGBT+ rights.
“I understand that some communities have tensions with the LGBT+ aspect but we’ve got to work our way through this, because in the UK there are gay people and that’s OK, that’s good.
“We have to work together, we’ve got to get through this together and we will get through this together, we’ll find a way,” Moffat said, appearing on Good Morning Britain on Thursday, to discuss the nomination and addressing the row.
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Andrew Moffat has been named as one of the world’s best teachers after facing protests and threats at the school gates over his promotion of equality issues pic.twitter.com/5rPI2rMZwV
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) February 21, 2019
Moffat, who resigned from his previous role as assistant head at Birmingham’s Chilwell Croft Academy after coming out as gay in 2014 following protests from religious parents, told the BBC earlier this month he has received threats following the latest protests, but that he also feels supported by his employers.
Education leaders express support for Global Teacher Prize finalist Andrew Moffat
Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman, who heads the government’s education watchdog, expressed support for Moffat and reaffirmed the importance of inclusive education in primary schools in an interview with the BBC on Thursday.
Education Secretary Damien Hinds congratulated Moffat in a statement on Thursday: “I wish him the best of luck for the final. This is also another appropriate moment to thank all our teachers for their dedication and exceptional work, day after day, for our children and our society, in their unique role.”
Moffat was awarded an MBE by the Queen for services to equality and diversity in education in November 2017.
The winner of the Global Teacher Prize, which is backed by the Varsity Foundation, is announced at a ceremony in Dubai in March.
The award recipient receives $1 million (£770,000) prize. Last year, the award was won by British teacher Andria Zafirakou.