Top-flight women's footballer in running for major teaching award

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A top-flight women's footballer and school leader who has raised more than £100,000 for survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire is in the running to win a major international teaching award.

Eartha Pond is one of four UK teachers to make the final 50 for the next Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize - worth one million US dollars (£750,000).

The PE teacher, who is assistant vice-principal at The Crest Academy in north-west London, currently plays for Tottenham Hotspur Ladies in the FA Women's Super League, having previously been at Arsenal and Chelsea.

She combines her job on the pitch with her work in the classroom, teaching pupils sport and physical education, including GCSE and BTEC courses.

On the morning after the Grenfell Tower fire, in which 71 people died, Ms Pond set up a crowdfunding account which raised more than £80,000 for survivors of the tragedy.

She also used her school's sports day, supported by local businesses, to raise more money and was involved in the organising of a West End concert put on to support those affected by the fire.

In total, she has helped to raise more than £100,000.

Andria Zafirakou, an arts and textiles teacher from Alperton Community School, north-west London (Varkey Foundation/PA)
Andria Zafirakou, an arts and textiles teacher from Alperton Community School, north-west London (Varkey Foundation/PA)

In her working life, Ms Pond, who trained as a teacher six years ago, has set up multi-sports enrichment clubs for young women which allows them to try new sports with peers from different cultures and age groups.

She said that making the shortlist was "amazing", adding: "I haven't had time to stop and think about it."

"If it brings some sort of attention to teaching and everything staff put towards their work that's great," she said.

Rebecca Cramer, a science teacher from Reach Academy Feltham, Middlesex   (Varkey Foundation/PA)
Rebecca Cramer, a science teacher from Reach Academy Feltham, Middlesex (Varkey Foundation/PA)

The three other teachers to be shortlisted for the prize - which will be awarded at a ceremony in Dubai in March - are Andria Zafirakou, an arts and textiles teacher from Alperton Community School, north-west London, Rebecca Cramer, a science teacher from Reach Academy Feltham, Middlesex and Tuesday Humby, principal of Ormiston Chadwick Academy, Widnes, Cheshire.

Ms Zafirakou has learnt to speak several languages so she can communicate with pupils, has set up art projects, designed a curriculum that relates to her students' lives and got to know their families as well as helping launch community projects such as a Somali choir.

Ms Cramer is secondary headteacher and co-founder of Reach Academy Feltham, a new school which saw its first group of students sit GCSEs this summer.

Tuesday Humby, principal of Ormiston Chadwick Academy, Widnes, Cheshire (Varkey Foundation/PA)
Tuesday Humby, principal of Ormiston Chadwick Academy, Widnes, Cheshire (Varkey Foundation/PA)

Ms Humby has introduced an "enrichment charter" at her school to give pupils different life experiences, such as residential trips, theatre and sport visits, and trips abroad, including to Kenya.

There are 33 nations represented in the final 50, selected from more than 30,000 nominations and applications made from 173 countries.