Bridlington teacher honoured for helping past pupil into Oxford University

Dr Hamish Harron with Mason Yousif (R) and Helen Harron (L).     Photo: Edmund Blok/Oxford University.
Dr Hamish Harron with Mason Yousif (R) and Helen Harron (L). Photo: Edmund Blok/Oxford University.
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A SCIENCE teacher at a school in Bridlington has been honoured with an award from Oxford University for helping one of his former pupils secure a place to study there.

Dr Hamish Harron, a physics teacher at Headlands School, was nominated by Mason Yousif, now a first-year student studying physics at Oriel College, Oxford.

He is one of ten nationwide Inspirational Teachers chosen by Oxford University. The scheme recognises excellent teachers from state schools and colleges for their efforts supporting pupils who were successful in getting places at Oxford. The teachers were all nominated by current first-year Oxford students.

They received the award at a ceremony at St Peter’s College.

Dr Harron said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been nominated for this award and was touched by Mason’s kind comments. I feel this award recognises the hard work that all teachers and students put in day to day across the country.

“Teaching can be a difficult career but the chance to help students across the ability range to reach their potential makes it worthwhile. I am lucky to have the chance to support and guide students making life changing decisions such as choosing options and which university to study at. I believe that all students deserve the best opportunities in life regardless of their background and that’s what we try to achieve in the schools I’ve worked in.”

Mr Yousif said: “I have never met someone who is so proficient as both a teacher and a mentor, conveying ideas to a class whilst being approachable at the same time. It was clear, just from hearing him speak, how knowledgeable he was, which allowed him to express difficult concepts with ease. Yet he always remained humble and grounded, signing our work with a ‘Doc H’ and a smile. If a student didn’t understand he would be patient and always accommodated for everyone’s needs.

“My comprehensive school achieves below average for many GCSE results and it is unheard of for pupils to be accepted to Oxbridge for University. This, and my family’s financial status, always weighed on my mind and made me unsure about applying to Oxbridge, but Dr Harron convinced me to forget about my doubts and push myself. And while I excelled at maths from a young age, I never really had any direction in life as far as a degree or career was concerned. That was until Dr Harron started teaching me GCSE physics.

“When I saw how I could apply my talents to the world and help other people, I knew I had to study physics and one day unlock other people’s potential as he did mine, and I can assure you that I’m not the only pupil to whom this has happened.”

Dr Samina Khan, director of undergraduate admissions at Oxford, said: “The Inspirational Teachers Awards are a way of recognising the importance of school or college teachers in encouraging bright students to realise their potential and make a successful application to Oxford, especially those who might not have initially believed they were Oxford material. This is particularly true for teachers who champion students who might be the only ones in their year – or even their school’s history – with the academic ability and drive to apply to Oxford. Winning a place at Oxford takes hard work and dedication, and having the support of a committed teacher is for many students what makes the difference.

“Teachers motivate and inspire students with a huge range of abilities and needs, and this year’s winning teachers also clearly showed the highest standard of commitment to all their students. They have inspired students with their passion, creativity and dedication to be the best they possibly can be and deserve recognition for that above all. I hope this award goes some way to saying thank you.”