A “very passionate and determined” teacher who is “a firm favourite of pupils” was crowned ‘Best Teacher’ at the 2023 Ely Hero Awards.

Natalie Lewis, of Isle of Ely Primary School, was commended by judges for her “whole person” approach, adding that “she instils in the children the need to be good person.

“Natalie is determined that children will have positive experiences. “She takes the lead in art projects and encourages a variety of opportunities for learning.

“Natalie’s nominators talk about her kind and respectful manner along with her strong work ethic that sees her working well into the weekend and school holidays.

“She is fun and enthusiastic and a firm favourite of pupils.”

After winning the award, Natalie said: “I feel really privileged. “It’s an absolute honour to even be nominated, and this is my second time.

“My aim has always been to make sure children have a really positive experience of school and that they want to come in every day and make the best of every learning opportunity.

“I wouldn’t be able to pull everything together without the work of my early years team and also the school.

“I was very lucky last year that I was also a finalist, but since then I’ve been made early years and reception lead. I really enjoy that aspect of my job and I’m very lucky.”

The other finalists in this category were Jessica Webb and Anna Cameron, both who work at LECA.

The judges said of the finalists in this category: “Shortlisting in this category was tough. “We received multiple nominations for individual teachers who are truly outstanding, loved by parents and pupils alike.

“All the teachers we met love their roles and some teachers have chosen to teach in environments where the children and schools face increased challenges, which we found very admirable.

“This is a fantastic showcase of teachers locally who are inspiring our children in a passionate, encouraging and sometimes very innovative ways.”

This award was sponsored by Thorlabs.