A WIRRAL PE teacher has won a prestigious national award for his work with children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities.

Jon White, inclusion lead and youth sport trust development coach at Clare Mount Specialist Sports College in Moreton, is Nasen's Teacher of the Year.

Nasen, a charity that supports and champions those working with, and for, children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and learning differences, runs the nasen Awards annually.

They celebrate innovative work and excellent practice taking place across the country to ensure children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities reach their full potential.

Jon has been put in the spotlight for his dedication, not only supporting pupils at Clare Mount Specialist Sports College but also primary and secondary schools across Merseyside, ensuring children with SEND have a positive experience of school.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, he created a series of themed weeks to ensure pupils accessed home and school opportunities and led on initiatives such as Active Across Ages with the aim to connect young people with SEND in their community and provide students with positive life experiences in preparation for employment and adult life.

Jon said: "I am so very proud and honoured to be even nominated for this award; let alone to win it! Nobody ever achieved success alone though.

"I hope that the whole Clare Mount family can celebrate this award from such a prestigious national organisation.

"It is a recognition of all the work everyone does and I would like to thank the whole staff and pupils for their support, particularly my wonderful colleagues in PE and Sport College.

"We are very lucky to have a Youth Sport Trust Headteacher PE Ambassador in Mrs Webster. I would also like to pay tribute to the County Lead Inclusion School network in England overseen by the Youth Sport Trust and funded by the Department for Education.

"I am very proud to be a part of this network, and to offer and share best practice with incredible professionals in education."

Professor Adam Boddison, chief executive of nasen, said: "We are delighted that Jon has been awarded nasen's Teacher of the Year and want to recognise his incredible achievements.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted all children and young people’s education. This has acutely impacted children and young people with SEND, their families and the professionals that support them. We want to share our thanks to Jon and the brilliant teams at Clare Mount Specialist Sports College and Youth Sport Trust."

Always putting the needs of young people at the heart of everything he does, Jon recently contributed to a free-of-charge CPD resource, endorsed by the National Autistic Society and has shared his best practice via courses and open days. He has contributed to international SEND research and provided counsel at a national policy level, ensuring the voice of teachers is heard when it comes to decisions around SEN teaching.

Kevin Byrne, director of personal development and well-being at Clare Mount Specialist Sports College, said: "Jon is a passionate thought-leader about physical education in general, all matters around 'inclusion' and an enthusiastic and energetic 'activist.'

"He has become increasingly adept at turning cutting-edge strategic vision into reality by 'taking partners with him' in his journey to improve the lives of young people with SEND through physical activity, physical education and sport.

"He genuinely advocates for all young people to 'find their sport' or 'find their tribe' and perhaps more importantly 'find their voice!'

"At the heart of all of Jon's work are the young people he works for; their needs and aspirations.

"He sees futures for young people that often go beyond their current aspirations and he is able to make dreams happen through his passion, empathy and determination.

"As an organisation, we couldn't be prouder of the person he has become."