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Inspirational Burnley College Tutors recognised as Best in UK

Staff and Students at Burnley College Sixth Form Centre are today celebrating after two of their inspirational Tutors were announced as finalists in the Pearson National Teaching Awards 2020 – the Oscars of Education.

Selected from thousands of nominations, Ben Whitaker and Mazar Iqbal are two of just 76 Silver Award winners across the country. They were honoured for their outstanding commitment to changing the lives of the students they work with every day.

Maz Iqbal won a Silver Award in The Award for Further Education Lecturer of the Year category. An experienced and motivational A Level Tutor, he is central to the College’s success in Computer Science, ensuring his students are given every opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge to real-life problems so they stand out from the crowd when applying for university places and interviewing for jobs. He arranges work placements for his students, including a number of projects designed to improve the processes at College. His students also compete in a range of national competitions, such as the British Informatics Challenge, Cyber Discovery Challenge and Cyber Security Challenge to test their skills against the best of the best.

Ben Whitaker won a Silver Award in The Award for Digital Innovator of the Year. He has been instrumental in introducing the latest technology to life at College, leading training sessions to more than 300 staff members on a range of useful digital tools. But it is as his role as founder of EduFuturists where Ben has had the most impact on other teachers. EduFuturists provides training, keynote talks and podcasts on the latest digital tricks of the trade to more than 25,000 listeners around the world, and has even hosted a summit for teachers across the North of England featuring top speakers and specialist workshops.

As Silver Award winners, both Maz and Ben are now in the running for one of just 14 Gold Awards later in the year, in a programme which will be broadcast on the BBC. This is a great opportunity to celebrate the exceptional school staff who have worked wonders during an incredibly challenging time for educators across the country.

Both will also be invited to afternoon tea at the House of Commons with the other Silver Award winners to celebrate their success.

The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of exceptional teachers, founded in 1998 by Lord Puttnam to recognise the life-changing impact an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of the young people. This year marks its 22nd year of celebrating, award-winning teachers, teaching assistants, headteachers and lecturers across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Karen Buchanan, Burnley College Principal, said:

“Huge congratulations to both Maz and Ben on this amazing achievement! It is fantastic that the outstanding contribution to the lives of young people – and their colleagues, too – is being recognised nationally.


Maz and Ben truly epitomise just what it means to be part of the Burnley College family and the Number 1 College in England*.

Karen Buchanan

Principal of Burnley College Sixth Form Centre

“They give 100% to ensure that every individual student gets the support they need to achieve their goals and make their dreams come true and share their expertise with their colleagues, too.

“They are truly outstanding Tutors who change the lives of their students and help them create amazing futures – whether that’s heading to university study or rewarding careers that really make a difference.”

Gavin Williamson, Education Secretary, said:

“My warmest congratulations go to all this year’s Silver Award winners. They should be proud to receive this recognition of their commitment to the profession, and the outstanding education and guidance they provide for their students.

“We now wish them both every success in the grand finals and hope they will bring a Gold Medal back to Burnley!”


Teachers and school staff up and down the country consistently go above and beyond for their students, and this is especially true over the past few months. It is down to their hard work that schools and colleges have been able to open again for the start of the new term, and I cannot say thank you enough for everything they have done.

Gavin Williamson

Education Secretary