A British art and textiles teacher from a school in one of the most deprived parts of London was yesterday awarded a $1m prize given annually to someone who has made “an outstanding contribution to the profession.”

Andria Zafirakou works at the Alperton Community School in Brent, an area where over a third of children live in poverty, there are high levels of gang violence and the murder rate is the second highest in the country.

Last night, at a glamorous ceremony in Dubai, she was named the winner of the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2018, awarded under the patronage of the ruler of the Gulf emirate, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The event was hosted by the South African comedian and Daily Show host Trevor Noah, included a performance by the Oscar-winning singer Jennifer Hudson, and an appearance by the Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton who presented Zafirakou with a trophy.

In a pre-recorded video message, the British Prime Minister Theresa May congratulated Zafirakou. “Being a great teacher requires resilience, ingenuity, and a generous heart. These are the qualities that you share with your students everyday. So thank you for all you have done and continue to do,” she said. Read more