Dyffryn Taf, Lewis School win Pearson Teaching Awards

A school which boasts two Wales World Cup Rugby players as former pupils has been awarded a top UK teaching prize.

The PE team at Dyffryn Taf Secondary School in Whitland, Carmarthenshire, won "outstanding team of the year" at the Pearson Teaching Awards.

Lewis School Pengam in Bargoed, Caerphilly county, won the "film my school" category.

A host of celebrities attended the ceremony at London's Palace Theatre on Sunday, which was shown on BBC Two.

Dyffryn Taf school was nominated by ex-student Dan Newton, who plays for the Scarlets in Llanelli.

Image caption Jonathan Davies, pictured scoring against Ireland in the Rugby World Cup, is a former Dyffryn Taf pupil

"As a professional rugby player I have benefited from the fruits of their labour," he said.

"I recognise the major part they have played in my success and want to give them thanks and recognition for their hard work and dedication."

Scrum half Mike Phillips and centre Jonathan Davies, who both helped Wales to fourth in the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, are former pupils.

Head teacher Dr Robert Newsome said both were "homely lads who do a lot for the local community".

"They're two very different characters but they've both been back here to do presentations and to talk to students.

"It's a wonderful connection."

Musical talent

At Lewis School Pengam the pupils put a film together with a message of "learning should be fun - this is how it's done".

The two-minute film shows experiments in a lab, keeping mind and body alert in the gym and "learning through doing" with an outdoor history class where the class all dressed up as crusaders.

The background music is supplied by A-level music student Nathan Battersby who sings and plays acoustic guitar in front of the whole school.

Hosted by Lenny Henry, the BBC's Welsh One Show host Alex Jones also appeared at the ceremony with her Strictly Come Dancing partner James Jordan.

"You ask almost anyone and they will have a story about a teacher who made a difference to them, who changed their lives in some way," said actor and screenwriter Emma Thompson, the president of the teaching awards.

"That's why these awards are so important because they shine a light on those moments of change, those moments where people's lives have been unforgettably altered by the acts of a great teacher.

"It's not just a simple awards ceremony - it achieves so much more than that," she added.

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