TEACHER Stacey Howard is to be honoured by sporting legends David Beckham and Jessica Ennis-Hill after being named as a finalist for a Teacher of the Year Award.

Stacey, who works two days a week as a specialist teacher at Holy Family RC High School, Carlton, has committed almost all of her spare time to support the school’s Sky Sports Living for Sport programme who run the award.

As well as organising a lunchtime club, Stacey has instigated a school media team that has become a regular focus for news-hungry students and teachers at Holy Family, arranged visits to outdoor activity centres, taken students rock climbing, skating and sledging, and helped introduce an annual ‘sports celebration week’.

Her tactic is to introduce the programme slowly in Year 7, often choosing pupils who have found it difficult to settle into secondary school life.

In the early stages, pupils are offered ‘time out’ cards, allowing them to leave lessons if they become overwhelmed; but as confidence grows the cards are soon used less and less.

Stacey said: “I’m very proud to be involved with Sky Sports Living for Sport. I don’t spend just one hour a week with the students, I dedicate all my spare time to running the project. If it wasn’t for the programme these students wouldn’t get as many opportunities and wouldn’t grow as they do.

"It gives them a comfort zone in school and something to look forward to each week.”

Head teacher, Darren Beardsley, said: “When I consider the aims of the Sky Sports Living For Sport programme and compare them to the work Stacey has carried out at Holy Family, I believe her work perfectly exemplifies the philosophy behind the campaign.

"The aims of boosting confidence, changing behaviours, increasing attainment and improving life skills are evident in all the work she does.

“Stacey acts as a positive role model – and students respond to this. She has made a significant impact on students in all year groups and all abilities.”

The awards will be featured in a Game Changers special one-off episode which will be broadcast live simultaneously on Sky Sports 1 HD and Sky 1 HD on May 20 at 4.30pm.