The Times Awards 2021: Teacher of the Year

Reece Cassidy collects his Teacher of the Year award from Times chief reporter Tom Chapman

Reece Cassidy collects his Teacher of the Year award from Times chief reporter Tom Chapman - Credit: Brittany Woodman

The Teacher of the Year in the Times Awards 2021 is Reece Cassidy, a teaching assistant at Grove House Infant and Nursery School.

Mr Cassidy completed his year 10 work experience at Grove when he was in high school, before heading back to undertake an apprenticeship during his time at college. 

He clearly made his mark, as he was taken on full-time and has worked at the school in Littlefields, Dereham, ever since. 

Reece Cassidy has been named Teacher of the Year in the Times Awards 2021

Reece Cassidy has been named Teacher of the Year in the Times Awards 2021 - Credit: Brittany Woodman

After picking up his award, a humble Mr Cassidy said anyone else at Grove would have deserved to win just as much. 

"It's good to win, but I feel like everyone else in the school works just as hard," he added.

"I work with some brilliant people and they could have easily won it too.

"The school is amazing - the teachers, all the staff and the parents as well because I have known some of them for years. 

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"It is just such a good environment to be in. I love working here and it really is the good reason I get up in the morning. 

"There's a reason I've been here for so long. It's because the school is just brilliant." 

The threat of Covid has evidently presented unfamiliar challenges for schools in the area, but Mr Cassidy emphasised there was little choice but to adapt.

"It's harder for the children because some are unsure and don't really understand what's happening," he said.

"We are trying to carry on like normal in school as best we can. Things are a bit different, but we've just got to adapt."