A WEST Somerset teacher has been crowned National Teacher of the Year.

Louise Collins, an early years foundation stage senior teacher at Dunster First School, has won the Smart Clinic award.

She came out on top after the judging panel assessed nominations against a set of criteria, including the care and support they offer their colleagues, the focus of wellbeing in the workplace, and their attitude towards positively developing their school.

Louise’s colleagues wrote about her that she is “one in a million” who “always has a smile for all her children and colleagues” and “treats every child as an individual and manages to find an amazing balance between nurture, fun and discipline, without doubt giving [her students] the best start to school life”.

She has a “heart of gold” and is “truly talented at her job”, they added.

On finding out about the win, Louise was keen to pay tribute to her colleagues at Dunster First School.

Harry Cramer, managing director of the education specific occupational health and wellbeing provider Smart Clinic, said: “We have received more nominations this year than ever before, and some of the lovely comments and fantastic work that was included in those nominations shows just what an achievement it was for Louise to win this award.

“On behalf of the team here at the Smart Clinic, we’d like to say a massive thank you to Louise for all the incredible work you do, and congratulations on winning the award.”