A teacher from Westbury who has overcome medical hurdles to race for Team GB, has now been recognised nationally for changing young people’s lives for the better.

Rachel Bown is a PE teacher at Fairfield Farm College who works with SEND children (special educational needs and disabilities) to set up individual goals and customise life skill sessions.

After being diagnosed with a brain tumour whilst teaching in 2017, Rachel has since gone on to race for Team GB in Triathlon and continue to personalise PE experiences for SEND pupils and give them a life-changing education.

The teacher has been hailed as an ‘inspiration’ and awarded the Award for FE Lecturer of the Year in the 2023 Pearson National Teaching Awards.

These prestigious awards are considered to be the ‘Oscars’ of the teaching profession, and the FE lecturer award recognises teachers who are preparing young people for success as they leave higher education no matter what route they take.

“We all know that a great teacher can enrich your life, can help you rise to the challenge, believe in yourself, find your own voice,” said famous children’s author Michael Morpurgo, who is president of the Teaching Awards Trust.

“I know that because it happened more than once to me.

“That’s why these Teaching Awards are so important to me. Every year, without fail, we see nominations which move and inspire us and this year we have seen stellar examples of life-changing role models for young people,” he added.

This year, thousands of educators were nominated for an award for their inspirational teaching, contributions to their schools, and influence among colleagues, but judges were particularly impressed by Rachel.

Not only does she go above and beyond to support and uplift her students, acting as an example of how you can overcome adversity to achieve sporting greatness, but she has also worked to support other institutions trying to remove barriers for SEND students.

“It’s an honour to celebrate and express gratitude to our teachers and the incredible impact they have on our communities,” said Sharon Hague, managing director of schools at Pearson UK.

“The hard work that goes into teaching and showing up for students day in and day out cannot be underestimated and I want to say a huge congratulations to all winners and thank you for your continuous efforts.”

Entries for the 2024 awards are now open and nominations can be made through the Pearson National Teaching Awards website.