Teacher who goes above and beyond for students shortlisted for Teacher of the Year award

Rob Thorp has taken Hitchin Boys' students all over the world, including South Africa, Malaysia, Costa Rica and Malawi

Rob Thorp has taken Hitchin Boys' students all over the world on expeditions, including South Africa, Malaysia, Costa Rica and Malawi - Credit: Hitchin Boys' School

A popular teacher at a Hitchin school has been nominated for a national award.

Hitchin Boys' Rob Thorp, who has been teaching biology at the school for 16 years, has been shortlisted in the Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School category at the Pearson National Teaching Awards for 2021.

Hitchin Boys' School biology teacher Rob Thorp, has been shortlisted for Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School

Biology teacher Rob Thorp, who has been at Hitchin Boy's for 16 years, has been shortlisted for Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School at the Pearson National Teaching Awards for 2021 - Credit: Hitchin Boys' School

The annual awards celebrate excellence in schools and colleges nationally. A list of silver winners of the award will be announced on National Thank a Teacher Day, June 15, and they will attend a tea at the House of Commons in July. In October 2021, 15 gold award winners will be announced at the an awards ceremony.

Known to go above and beyond for his students, Mr Thorp continued to work in school throughout the first lockdown to teach vulnerable pupils in addition to his normal timetable.

“It is always good to be recognised for the work you do," Rob told the Comet. "I feel very humbled to have been nominated but also slightly embarrassed as I know my colleagues are working just as hard to support our students."

He also transformed the entire science department into a 'Crystal Maze’ which involved 12 themed laboratories. Pupils had to solve puzzles and ‘escape’ from each room - a welcome relief and distraction for these students in challenging times.

As well as this, his A Level biology class was ranked in the top 20 schools in the country in 2018 for results achieved, and most years his GCSE classes achieve the highest number of grades 8 and 9 in the school. 

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Outside of the classroom, Mr Thorp has organised and led both biology field trips and World Challenge expeditions to places such as South Africa, Malaysia, Costa Rica and Malawi, learning about conservation and completing projects while enjoying activities such as canoeing, diving and rafting.

Rob Thorp has taken Hitchin Boys' students all over the world, including South Africa, Malaysia, Costa Rica and Malawi

Rob Thorp has taken Hitchin Boys' students all over the world on expeditions, including South Africa, Malaysia, Costa Rica and Malawi - Credit: Hitchin Boys' School

The trips - which involve many months of planning, risk assessing, team-building and fundraising - also see Rob willingly give up his own time to ensure the best possible life and learning experiences for students.

Rob added: "I'm very lucky to always have the backing of the school to take students on so many overseas visits, many of which are not on the usual tourist routes. I hope the experiences have broadened their perspectives on the world as well as having a positive impact on their own development.”

Rob Thorp has taken Hitchin Boys' students all over the world, including South Africa, Malaysia, Costa Rica and Malawi

Rob Thorp has taken Hitchin Boys' students all over the world on expeditions, including South Africa, Malaysia, Costa Rica and Malawi - Credit: Hitchin Boys' School

Hitchin Boys' School's headteacher Fergal Moane said: “Rob Thorp is renowned for his kindness and willingness to give up his time for pupils who are struggling.

"He demonstrates boundless enthusiasm, energy and commitment to broaden students’ understanding and knowledge of the world whilst improving awareness of how their contributions can have a positive and far-reaching impact. We are delighted that he has made it to the finals and wish him luck for the next stage of the process.”

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