71-Year-Old Jeff Stratton Wins Pearson Teaching Award (Pictures)

Jeff Stratton, the 71-year-old honoured in Pearson's Teaching Awards, says he is still going strong and has "no plans to retire", despite being in the profession for more than 50 years.

The arts teacher, who currently works at Lipson Community College, Plymouth, was described at the awards ceremony, as having "the energy of two teenagers".

Stratton was presented with the Ted Wragg Award for Lifetime Achievement at the ceremony on Sunday and says he intends to carry on teaching.

"If you can enthuse kids you should keep on. If it's your vocation, what are you doing retiring?

"Education is always urgent. I wouldn't miss this for the world."

Originally trained as a painter, Stratton has taught art since 1960s. Steve Baker, head teacher at the community college, called Stratton an "inspiration".

In total, six teachers, one head teacher and a teaching assistant were awarded a gong at the ceremony, dubbed "the teaching oscars". Held at London's Palace Theatre and presented by Lenny Henry, the teachers were presented with their awards by celebrities including Sir Trevor Nunn, comedian Al Murray and fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood.

Three groups were also honoured: an "outstanding" team of teachers, a unique special needs project and a creative crew of student film makers.

The eleven winners each received a gold "Plato" and were chosen out of 22,000 nominations. The winners will also attend a reception ceremony on Wednesday at Downing Street.

Actress Emma Thompson, president of the teaching awards said the night was "not just a simple awards ceremony - it achieves much more than that.

"You ask almost anyone and they will have a story about a teacher who made a difference to them, who changed their lives in some way. That’s why the awards are so important because they shine a light on those moments of change, those moments where peoples’ lives have been unforgettably altered by the acts of a great teacher."