TOP teachers have been praised for their dedication and hard work ahead of this year’s York Community Pride Awards.

The event aims to celebrate the city’s unsung heroes who inspire their community and freely give their spare time to help others.

The Teacher of the Year category, sponsored by Work With Schools, is for staff who. through their enthusiasm and commitment, can truly inspire their pupils.

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 award by parents at the school, who said he has a “huge heart”.

Sarah Harland at Badger Hill Primary School has also been put forward for the award, with parents saying she is “a wonderful teacher that had brought out the best in all her class.”

Barry Conforth at Joseph Rowntree High School has also been nominated, with entrants saying he “does amazing things for the students” and helps them achieve their potential.

Teacher Sam Dykes at Poppleton Road Primary School was also praised by parents who said: “She is loved by pupils and parents alike. She goes above and beyond the call of duty.”

Teaching assistant Mrs Souch at Hempland Primary Academy has also been nominated for the award. Parents say she gives up her own time to run the cookery school and is “tireless and hardworking.”

And Ryan de Koning at St George’s RC Primary School was nominated for the category by one of his pupils, who said: “He is a kind man and is never in a bad mood.

“Last year he helped us create a monster museum. It was really fun to do.

“We all love our school. On Friday I was so sad to leave Mr De Konings class, I cried.”

Entries have now closed for the York Community Pride Awards.

The judges will now shortlist three nominees from each category, who will be invited to the prizegiving ceremony at York Racecourse.