Popular teacher scoops top education prize

Brian McPhail from Fred Longworth High School receives his award from fellow science teacher Simon Rigby
Brian McPhail from Fred Longworth High School receives his award from fellow science teacher Simon Rigby

A popular secondary school teacher who has been passing on his knowledge for decades has scooped the local education union’s top annual prize.

Brian McPhail, head of science at Fred Longworth High School in Tyldesley, has been given the award for Outstanding Contribution to Local Education (OCLE) by the Wigan and District branch of the National Education Union (NEU).

Brian has been teaching for almost four decades and his contribution to the Printshop Lane school was underlined by the mass effort by his colleagues to get him recognised with the accolade.

However, modest Brian credited his success in the classroom to the work of everyone at Fred Longworth teaching physics, chemistry and biology.

Wigan NEU joint district secretary Max Atkins said: “It is no exaggeration to say that thousands of people will recognise Brian.

“He has served the community loyally for nearly 40 years and has taught hundreds of pupils during that time, many of whom have since sent their sons and daughters to Fred Longworth to be taught by Brian too.

“Most years, just one individual nominates the winner but this year, such is his popularity, the whole department nominated him.

“The form is full of praise and admiration for Brian, describing him as a household name, synonymous with the school, committed, an inspiration, a key influencer, strongly admired, unique, creative, dedicated, charismatic and a legend.

“One word they missed off was humble.

“On accepting his award he was quick to praise his colleagues in helping him be successful.

“He said the science department was as good as it was because of the team effort and is something he could not have achieved without such loyal and hard-working staff.”

Brian’s colleague Rebecca Edwards submitted the nomination on behalf of the department.

She said: “Without doubt, Brian is an outstanding teacher whose unique and innovative teaching approach has seen thousands of local students succeed in science.

“His love of teaching is palpable and has led to so many past students pursuing a career in teaching.”

Nominations for the 2020 OCLE will open early next year.

Find out more at www.wiganneu.co.uk