Cash prizes for the best teachers – as chosen by the pupils

Education Editor,Richard Garner
Friday 05 November 2010 01:00

A new online lesson service will be able to stockpile lessons from any secondary school in the country – which can then be accessed by teachers and students anywhere.

So far, seven schools have signed up for the scheme – including the private schools Eton and Wellington College. The other five are state schools.

The website will invite pupils to rate the lessons they see. Every fortnight from today, the most-watched and best-rated lessons will qualify for a reward – £2,000 for the teacher and a further £2,000 for their school.

Roger Auger, deputy head at Wellington College and himself a maths teacher, is one of those to have submitted clips of himself teaching to the site.

Mr Auger, who has taught at Wellington for all his 32 years in the profession, said: "I think it should provide a very valuable resource for both our pupils and pupils from other schools.

"It is never going to replace the actual lesson in the school but it could give a prompt and hopefully that little bit of an extra edge as they're approaching an exam."

Dr Anthony Seldon, headmaster of Wellington, added: We are committed at Wellington to making our teaching available using all possible means to both our pupils and to other pupils around the UK and the world."

Schools wanting to place their lessons online go through a vetting procedure to guard against profanities and other inappropriate material appearing.

The teacher and the school can decide either to be anonymous (to minimise the potential for former pupils making derogatory comments on the website) or be named.

The website is being run by 02 Learn, part of the communications group 02 UK Ltd, which hopes that the project will – in addition to providing them with beneficial marketing – be an educational resource for pupils and teachers, giving them access to some of the most talented teachers.

There will be an awards ceremony at the 02 Arena in east London next autumn, where judges will select the best three teachers.

Gav Thompson, creator of 02 Learn, said: "We started off by trying to get some of the big private schools involved. They are keen to maintain their charitable status and spread their practice to wider parts of the community. So I spoke to Eton, and Tony Little and Anthony Seldon got it and joined." He added: "I think success would be 10,000 lessons [placed online], although that might take six months or a year to build up. We already cover a good chunk of the curriculum."

Famous former teachers

JK Rowling

The creator of Harry Potter taught English in Portugal while working on the plot for her first book.


The singer worked as a schoolteacher at St Paul's Middle School in Cramlington, Northumberland, for two years after graduating from Northern Counties College of Education.

Stephen King

The novelist gained a certificate to teach at high schools but, unable to find a job, earned money by selling short stories to men's magazines.

Gene Simmons

The Kiss bassist became a primary school teacher in Harlem after his early attempts at rock-stardom went nowhere. He was fired for replacing Shakespeare with comics, which he thought his pupils were more likely to read.

Sheryl Crow

The country singer once worked as a teacher at Kellison Elementary School in St Louis, Missouri. She composed jingles for commercials in her spare time.

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