Maths teacher up for million-dollar Nobel-style award


A maths teacher who has created more than a thousand videos explaining the subject to children will find out if he has won a million-dollar Nobel-style award.

Colin Hegarty, of Preston Manor School in Wembley, north-west London, has made it to the final 10 shortlisted for the second annual Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize, which recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.

The winner will be announced during a ceremony at the Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) in Dubai on Sunday.

Mr Hegarty, 34, said he was "excited" about being in the running for the prize.

"I'm particularly excited about meeting the other people shortlisted," he said. "One of my favourite things is watching other teachers teach."

Mr Hegarty grew up in a London council flat and went on to study at Oxford University, gaining a first-class degree in maths.

He then worked as an accountant for top city firm Deloitte before switching to teaching six years ago.

"I love teaching maths, ever since I changed career, I can't get enough of it," he said.

Mr Hegarty started creating maths videos around four years ago, after an A-level student had to take time off to see his sick father and was worried about falling behind.

To help the student, he put his maths lessons online. The student kept up with his studies and passed his A-level.

Since then, Mr Hegarty has made more than 1,000 videos, which are freely available for anyone to use and have collectively had around six million views.

In the last year, after winning a UK teaching prize, Mr Hegarty has taken a sabbatical to set up a new website showcasing his tutorials. It is currently available in around 70 schools.

If he wins the Global Teacher Prize, he will invest the money in his website. "I would like to use it to make this website change maths education," he said.

The other nine finalists are drawn from around the world, including Pakistan, Kenya, Palestine, the USA, Japan, Finland, Australia and India.

The winner will receive one million US dollars (around £630,000) and be asked to serve as a global ambassador for the Varkey Foundation, attending events and speaking about their work.

But they will also be required to remain working as a classroom teacher for at least five years as a condition of winning the award.

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, has said: "I want to congratulate Colin Hegarty for being selected as a top 10 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."