Prince Harry pays tribute to teachers in a video message as top ten finalists are announced

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Prince Harry pays tribute to teachers in a video message as top ten finalists are announced
Raymond Chambers, a computer science teacher from Brooke Weston Academy in Corby, Northamptonshire, has been named a top 10 finalist for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2017, which is announced today at
Now in its third year, the US $1 million award is the largest prize of its kind, and was set up to recognize one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society. By unearthing thousands of stories of heroes that have transformed young people’s lives, the prize hopes to bring to life the exceptional work of millions of teachers all over the world. 
In a video message, Prince Harry paid tribute to the work of teachers around the world on the day the top ten finalists were announced. Prince Harry said:
In addition to reading, writing and arithmetic, the very best teachers go beyond the pages of textbooks to teach young people about determination, aspiration, resilience and compassion. We will all face setbacks and challenges in our lives and our teachers play a vital role in preparing us for these ups and downs.

The finalists for this year's Global Teacher Prize are from every corner of the world – from the Canadian Arctic to Kenya and Pakistan.  But there's one thing they all have in common - they spark curiosity within a child and nurture the dreams that can change our world for the better.  

I would like to end by congratulating all of the finalists; you are not just exceptional teachers, you are the role models who support, inspire and shape children’s lives. Your work is so important; I don’t believe it is an exaggeration to say that you are shaping the future”.

The top ten have been narrowed down from 20,000 nominations and applications from 179 countries around the world. By highlighting their stories the Varkey Foundation hopes that the public will be able to join in passionate debates about the importance of teachers. The winner will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on Sunday 19 March 2017.
Raymond Chambers entered teaching by accident as the result of a last-minute Computer Science degree placement, but found that he loved it. At this time, ICT learning was fairly traditional and undeveloped, so Raymond started developing new software for learning using Microsoft Kinect, to make ICT lessons less dry and more varied, allowing him to incorporate quizzes and make lessons more fun and engaging for his pupils.

The success of this approach developed into a WordPress blog and a Twitter feed sharing his work, tools and best practice with other teachers, which eventually led to him being invited to Portugal to present it on a global scale at the Microsoft European Innovative Teachers Conference in 2012. Raymond’s computer science YouTube education channel has had over 250,000 views, he has been commissioned by the UK government to contribute to the secondary computing quick start guide for teachers and the BBC asked him to contribute to the BBC Microbit resources issued to teachers nationally. Thanks to his mentoring, dedication and encouragement his class pupils have gone on to achieve 2nd place at a European coding competition.

In 2013/14 he won the Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator award and in 2015 he received the UK national teaching award for innovative use of technology.

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, said:
I want to congratulate Raymond Chambers for being selected as a top ten finalist from such a huge number of talented and dedicated teachers. I hope his story will inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession and also shine a powerful spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over the UK and throughout the world every day.


The thousands of nominations and applications we received from every corner of the planet is testimony to the achievements of teachers and the enormous impact they have on all of our lives”.

The other nine finalists for the Global Teacher prize 2017 are:
Salima Begum, Headteacher at Elementary College for Women Gilgit, Pakistan David Calle, from Madrid, Spain, the founder and creator of the Unicoos educational website

Wemerson da Silva Nogueira, a science teacher at the Escola Antônio dos Santos Neves in Boa Esperança, Brazil

Marie-Christine Ghanbari Jahromi a physical education, maths and German teacher at Gesamtschule Gescher school, Gescher, Germany

Tracy-Ann Hall, an automotive technology teacher at Jonathan Grant High School in Spanish Town, Jamaica

Maggie MacDonnell, a teacher at Ikusik School, Kativik School Board, Canadian Arctic

Ken Silburn, a science teacher at Casula High School, south-west Sydney, Australia

Yang Boya, a psychology teacher at The Affiliated Middle School of Kunming Teachers College, China

Michael Wamaya, a dance teacher from Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya

Further information about the top 10 shortlist will be available from 22 February here: To join the conversation online follow #TeachersMatter on: and

Raymond Chambers’ Twitter handle is

His blog is at

His YouTube channel is

1. The Varkey Foundation believes every child deserves a vibrant, stimulating learning environment that awakens and supports their full potential. We believe nothing is more important to achieving this than the passion and quality of teachers. We support global teaching capacity and seed excellence and innovation in the next generation of educators. We also founded the Global Teacher Prize to shine a spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over the world.
2. A top 50 shortlist of teachers was narrowed down to the final ten teachers by a Prize Committee. The winner will be chosen from these ten finalists by the Global Teacher Prize Academy. The Prize Committee and the Academy will look for evidence that applicants meet the following criteria: 

  • Achieving demonstrable student learning outcomes in the classroom

  • Recognition of a teacher’s achievements in the classroom and beyond from pupils, colleagues, head-teachers or members of the wider community.

  • Achievements in the community beyond the classroom that provide unique and distinguished models of excellence for the teaching profession and others

  • Employing innovative and effective instructional practices that are replicable and scalable to influence the quality of education globally.
  • Helping children become global citizens through providing them with a values-based education, which equips young people with life and work skills and prepares them for a world where they will encounter people from many different religions, cultures and nationalities.

  • Encouraging teachers to stay in the profession and develop their skills as well as encouraging others to join the teaching profession.

3. The Global Teacher Prize Academy includes prominent names such as Freida Pinto, Actress, United States; Wendy Kopp, co-founder and CEO of Teach for All; Brett Wigdortz, founder and CEO of Teach First, Nick Booth, CEO, The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, James E Ryan, Dean and Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education, United States, Jeffrey D. Sachs, world-renowned professor of economics and special advisor to the U.N and Lewis Pugh, the only person to have completed a long distance swim in every ocean of the world.

4. The Global Teacher Prize winner will be paid the prize money in equal instalments over ten years, and the Varkey Foundation will provide the winner with financial counselling. Without compromising their work in the classroom, the winner will be asked to serve as a global ambassador for the Varkey Foundation, attending public events and speaking in public forums about improving the prestige of the teaching profession. A condition of winning the prize is that the winner remains as a classroom teacher for at least five years.

5. PriceWaterhouseCoopers will be responsible for ensuring that the balloting process is fair and accurate.  Criminal record and other background checks will be conducted on the shortlisted candidates. Top ten finalists from Global Teacher Prize 2016 could not apply for Global Teacher Prize 2017.

6. The Global Teacher Prize is part of the Varkey Foundation’s long-standing commitment to improve the status of teachers.  In November 2013, the foundation published the Global Teacher Status Index, the first attempt to compare attitudes towards teachers in 21 countries.  The index found that there were significant differences between the status of teachers worldwide. The survey also found that in many countries, between a third and half of parents would “probably” or “definitely not” encourage their children to enter the teaching profession. The full Global Teacher Status Index can be found at:

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