Recognition for teachers who inspired their students to win places at Oxford University


Twelve inspirational teachers from across the UK have been honoured for their work in encouraging and supporting their pupils to win places at Oxford University.

The teachers were nominated for Oxford’s Inspirational Teacher Awards by the students they inspired, all of whom attended state schools and colleges with a limited tradition of sending pupils to Oxford and are now first year undergraduates there. 

Esther Odejimi, for instance, nominated Nimmy Sidhu, head of science at Oaks Park High School Sixth Form in Enfield.

“I would have nominated two teachers if I could have, because there were really two people who supported me all the way through my student career to Oxford,” said Esther, who is now studying theology at Pembroke College.

“Ms Sidhu and Mr (Craig) Foster backed me every step of the way but Mr Foster died suddenly after a short battle with cancer the day before I received my A level results. When applying to Oxford University was just a thought, Ms Sidhu was one of the people that instilled the vision within me and continually reassured me that I was academically adequate to thrive at an institution like this, despite my socio-economic background.”

The teachers were presented with their awards at a special ceremony in Oxford last month. 

Paying tribute to them, Oxford’s pro-vice-chancellor of education, Professor Sally Mapstone, said: “Winning a place at Oxford takes hard work and dedication and having the support of a committed teacher is for many students what makes the difference in pushing them to apply and make the strongest application they can.”

This year’s winners are: 

  • Peter Bardon from The Hermitage Academy, Chester-le-Street.

  • Alison Boardman from Hornsey School for Girls, London.

  • Kathryn Brooks from Sir Robert Pattinson Academy, Lincolnshire.

  • Michael Curry from Holy Family Catholic High School, Thornton.

  • Peter Gross from Enfield Grammar School, Enfield.

  • Joy Humphrey from The Ilfracombe Academy, Ilfracombe.

  • Sheena Kar from St Benedict’s Catholic High School, Whitehaven.

  • Claire Hall from Highdown School, Reading.

  • Jo Kemp from Fitzalan High School, Cardiff.

  • David Perkins from Duffryn High School, Newport.

  • Nimmy Sidhu from Oaks Park High School Sixth Form, Enfield.

  • Stella Vassiliou from Didcot Girls’ School, Didcot. 

For more on the awards, visit

Inspired: The 12 winning teachers with the students who they inspired (top) and above nominator Esther (centre) with teacher Nimmy Sidhu (right). Photos: Edmund Blok Photography


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