He looks like a regular guy…
Well yes, if regular includes setting up and running a school science club that sent a teddy bear into the upper atmosphere in a weather balloon (with some help from the Met Office and Manchester University). The cuddly soft toy was equipped with a camera so that wide-eyed, studious pupils could see what the edge of space looks like first-hand.
That’s pretty cool. So he’s a science teacher?
Yes, but not just any science teacher. Mr Hardeley, who is deputy head of science at Holy Cross Roman Catholic High School in Chorley, Lancashire, has just been honoured as the “Outstanding New Teacher of the Year” at the Pearson Teaching Awards 2013. Sending a teddy bear where very few teddy bears have gone before is just one of the many feathers in his cap. Under his tutelage, youngsters have also used modern-day forensic techniques to come face-to-face with Jack the Ripper, as well as learning about the cardiovascular system using real lamb and ox hearts.
And all these great ideas are coming from a new teacher?
Spot on. Mr Hardeley only answered his vocation three years ago; before that he was working as a health assessor for Bupa. Think of him as a bit of a Timothy Hutton of education – the actor won an Academy Award very early on in his career and the Pearson Awards are dubbed the teachers’ Oscars. This year they were hosted by Clare Balding and celebrity presenters included Mo Farah, Sir Terry Wogan, Ronnie Corbett CBE and Dame Doreen Lawrence.
Who else was on the champions’ podium?
Further winners included Crispin Chambers, who was named “Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School” for bringing Japanese to Tavistock College in Devon and Isabel Lind OBE, who was awarded The Ted Wragg Award for Lifetime Achievement for her work at Aileymill Primary School in Inverclyde, Scotland.
But back to Mr Hardeley. How can the rest of us match up?
Get busy. Outside of teaching hours, Mr Hardeley also runs a careers convention, takes part in the school’s Duke of Edinburgh scheme and coaches for rugby league. Meanwhile, he is studying for a Masters degree and is a first-time father.