‘Worth his weight in gold:’ Peterborough school’s caretaker wins 'unsung hero' at national teaching awards

Highlees Primary School’s site manager Matt Sanderson was one of 80 silver award winners at the Pearson National Teaching Awards
Site manager Matt Sanderson with his award at Highlees Primary School.Site manager Matt Sanderson with his award at Highlees Primary School.
Site manager Matt Sanderson with his award at Highlees Primary School.

A Peterborough school’s site manager “who always goes the extra mile” has won a silver teaching gong - and has been shortlisted for a national gold award.

Matt Sanderson is the site manager at Highlees Primary School, on Ashton Road, and was honoured with the award for his “everyday commitment to improving the lives of the children” at the school.

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“I’m overwhelmed and very honoured,” Matt said. “We’re trying to encourage the children to come to school every day.

"They need a safe environment, so I try to ensure that the children enjoy coming to school and that their experience of a school life is a good one.”

Mr Sanderson won the ‘unsung hero’ silver award in the Pearson National Teaching Awards, an annual celebration of excellence in education, recognising the work of teachers across the UK.

Matt received his award during assembly at Highlees Primary School on national ‘Thank a Teacher Day’ (May 26) - which is an annual day of recognition for staff working in education.

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The caretake of eight years has been named as one of 80 silver award winners across the country and is known as “the epitome of patience and good humour” by his colleagues.

Matt has also been shortlisted to win just one of 16 gold awards, which will be presented on the BBC’s The One Show later this year.

‘Brilliant team player’

Melissa Albert, Highlees Primary School’s headteacher, said Matt is “worth his weight in gold”.

“He goes above and beyond every single day,” she said. "He really cares about people.

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"Matt welcomes the children and their parents every morning – and knows every child’s name.

"He really wants our school to be the best it can and will try to do whatever he can so people recognise the school within the community.

“He’s a brilliant team player and a real asset. Matt always goes the extra mile and he doesn’t realise how good he is.”

Matt was put forward for the award by the Elliot Foundation – the trust of Highlees Primary School.