ONE of the smallest primary schools in Somerset has one of the top teachers in the country, according to an awards initiative.

David Stirzaker, who works at Stawley Primary School, is one of just 11 outstanding teachers to receive a Silver Award for Teacher of the Year in a Primary School.

Mr Stirzaker received the accolade this week for his outstanding commitment to changing the lives of the children he works with.

He was handed a trophy at the 60-pupil school by Catherine Mortimer-Ford, national manager at the Pearson Teaching Awards.

Stawley head teacher Jacqui Collier said: "David’s dedication and commitment to the entire school community is outstanding.

"His ability to support every family and every child is key to what makes Stawley Primary School a unique, special place to be. We are very lucky to have him.

"David was instrumental in helping Stawley Primary School top the Somerset performance tables for Key Stage 2 in 2018 and 2019, and constantly inspires the pupils with his good-natured competitive spirit.

"His extraordinary dedication goes beyond the educational success of his pupils to include organising and leading residential activity weeks and trips, educational visits and a number of public performances to ensure they enjoy the broadest possible educational experience and every facet of life.

"He is also a keen musician who leads the school choir and music activities and a passionate proponent of a variety of different sports, leading Stawley school teams to many victories and trophies."

Mr Stirzaker is now in the running for one of 14 Gold Pearson Awards, known as the 'Oscars' for teachers later this year in a programme that will be broadcast by the BBC.

Rod Bristow, president of Pearson UK, said: "Congratulations to all of our Silver Award winners for their commitment, dedication and passion for their work.

"Despite the incredible challenges they have faced over the past few months, school staff have risen to the occasion time and again."

Victoria Short, managing director of award sponsor Randstad Education, said: "Congratulations to David Stirzaker for this achievement, which is a well-deserved recognition of his fantastic work in ensuring children get the best start to their education possible."