A POPULAR maths teacher says he is 'proud and delighted' to have been nominated for this year’s York Community Pride Awards.

Gareth Dyer, who is the maths lead at Hempland Primary Academy in Heworth and a STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) ambassador, was nominated for the Teacher of the Year award by Nicola Taylor, the mother of one of his pupils.

Nicola said: “Mr Dyer has been a teacher at Hempland for many years now and still has the same enthusiasm as if he was new to teaching.

“His energy and passion is infectious and clearly engages the children.

”My daughter did not want a male teacher, and is now sad to lose him and move up a year.

“He’s a huge man (if you’re a small child) with a huge heart.”

Mr Dyer, 34, from Heworth, has been teaching for 11 years and said he was overwhelmed that he had received the nomination.

“I feel very proud obviously," he said. "It’s a pleasant surprise. I’m speechless!”

As well as his teaching role at Hempland, Mr Dyer runs an after-school STEM club for the older children and goes into different schools across the city promoting STEM subjects.

At his club, pupils are introduced to practical science and engineering projects, including making heat shields for blow torches and building rockets.

He was also a ‘space ambassador’ for the Tim Peake Primary Project in 2016, getting York youngsters involved in space-related activities on behalf of ESERO-UK - also known as the UK Space Education Office.

Mr Dyer said: “It’s been a fantastic year and I obviously love the job. You couldn’t do it unless you enjoyed it.

“I like to celebrate maths so that the children find it fun.

“I love coming in in the morning. No two days are the same.”

The Teacher of the Year category is sponsored by Work With Schools, a York-based recruitment agency that specialises in recruiting supply teachers for schools across Yorkshire.

Nominations for the Community Pride Awards close on Friday, July 27, and nominees must live in, or contribute to the community within the City of York Council area. Three finalists from each category will be invited to the awards ceremony at York Racecourse in October, when the winners will be revealed. Entries can be posted to York Community Pride Awards, The Press, 84-86 Walmgate, York YO1 9YN. Or submit your nomination online at yorkpress.co.uk/communitypride.