Global teacher prize winner Andria Zafirakou to found school arts charity

The London art teacher who won this year’s global teacher prize will use her winnings to found a charity linking artists with schools.

Andria Zafirakou, a teacher at Alperton Community School in Brent, won $1 million when she was crowned the best teacher in the world earlier this year.

During a rousing keynote speech to the Festival of Education at Wellington College this afternoon, Zafirakou said her Artists in Residence charity would arrange for artists, musicians, actors, film-makers and dancers to visit schools which otherwise find it “very difficult to be able to offer the opportunities of the arts”.

“My plan is to get the artists from all genres into schools,” she said. “I know how hard it is to go out, how hard it is for parents to take children to these particular places, so I want the artists to come in.

“Because what I want to achieve with that is to encourage creativity back into schools; to show our children there are opportunities in these careers. That they can succeed, they are good professions. But most importantly I would like our teachers to be inspired as well.”

Zafirakou spoke of her passion for professional development, and said artists involved in the scheme would bring “a massive amount of knowledge and skills into the schools.

“I’m very excited about this, I know it’s going to be successful and it will definitely change lives.”

The charity will build on a scheme introduced by Zafirakou at her own school, where she brought in artist Armando Alemdar to redesign the art curriculum and help pupils confront and cope with the “responsibilities of their complex home circumstances”.