Unsung hero award for school lunch supervisor

Susie RackBBC News, West Midlands
BBC Manjit NahalBBC
Manjit Nahal was cheered and clapped as she entered, unaware she had won the award

A "one of a kind" school lunchtime supervisor has been surprised with an unsung hero award on BBC programme The One Show.

Manjit Nahal, from Bridgetown School in Stratford-upon-Avon, was presented with the National Teaching Award by host Alex Jones, who helped pupils decorate the room for the surprise.

In almost a decade at the school, Mrs Nahal has worked as a caretaker and teaching assistant and now leads a team of 10.

Visibly moved, she said: "Nothing gives me greater pleasure than doing my job for the children and the school itself."

Manjit Nahal is handed the award by the BBC's Alex Jones
Mrs Nahal was given the National Teaching Award's Unsung Hero trophy by BBC presenter Alex Jones

The much-loved staff member was described as "incredibly kind-hearted" and "selfless" by her colleagues.

"Manjit is so deserving of having the Unsung Hero award," said deputy headteacher Lucy Coaché. “She really is one of a kind.”

The pupils said she organised "loads of events" and was a "superstar", who set up a specially decorated table each Friday for lunchtime "stars of the week".

She also runs the gardening club and supports a child with special educational needs with speech and language difficulties.

Head teacher Lisa Pinkerton said: “She does it because she wants to make the world a better place and she really has made Bridgetown a better place."

Former head teacher Jane Tailby added: “In the 30 years I’ve been in education, I’ve never met a lunchtime supervisor who’s so kind and caring and always, always puts the children first.”

Pearson National Teaching Awards Manjit Nahal holding an awardPearson National Teaching Awards
Manjit Nahal was previously a silver award-winner, but this time she has won gold

Ms Jones helped the children decorate the school and lie in wait to surprise Mrs Nahal when she arrived for her usual lunchtime shift.

After being handed the award, she said she was "lost for words", but “loved her job”.

Gardener's World presenter Joe Swift also planted a apple tree in honour of the award-winner in the garden, with a plaque marking her achievement.

The Pearson National Teaching Awards, described as the "teaching Oscars", honour the outstanding achievements of educators and support staff.

The awards ceremony will be hosted by presenter Gaby Roslin on Saturday.