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Selected from thousands of nominations, Dr Andrew Szydlo is one of just 76 Silver Award winners across the country honoured with a Silver Award in The Award for Lifetime Achievement for their outstanding commitment to changing the lives of the children they work with every day.

Dr Andrew Szydlo wins Silver Pearson Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr Szydlo was nominated for 47 years of sharing a passion for Chemistry inside and outside of the classroom, to the benefit of countless pupils and numerous colleagues within the school and the wider academic community. He is also a key part of Highgate’s award-winning programme of partnership teaching with state schools throughout London. Each year, he performs his demonstration show, ‘As If By Magic’ in over 100 schools and interacts with over 25,000 children.

As If By Magic: the chemistry show reaching 25,000 children

Dr Szydlo's As If By Magic Show

Highgate’s legendary teacher, infamous for his Bee Keeping Society, Automobile Club as well as his compelling wizard-like chemistry experiments performed in class (sometimes whilst simultaneously playing violin), is adored by generations of pupils and staff alike.

Bee Keeping: another of Dr Szydlo’s clubs

Dr Andrew Szydlo - Bee Keeping

He was presented the award by Head Adam Pettitt, accompanied in socially distanced fashion by previous pupil Joe Connor (now Chrysalis Partnership Co-ordinator), long standing colleague Director of Design Technology Andrew Thomson and Director of Partnership Sarah Butterworth. Dr Szydlo said on winning: “I am simply honoured that my work has been recognised and to have won Silver for the Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Compelling chemistry lesson with a violin performance

Dr Andew Szydlo - chemist and violinist

Mr Pettitt said of our legendary Science teacher: “I couldn’t be more delighted that Andrew’s phenomenal achievements as a teacher and champion for science have been recognised in this way. His boundless enthusiasm seems to be unaffected by his very long years of service to young people and to their STEM education but he richly deserves this praise and recognition – how lucky we and so many generations have been to know him, and it’s staggering to think that new audiences – literally hundreds of young people every year – are still being touched by Andrew’s pedagogic and scientific magic! Modern-day alchemy at its very best!”

Director of DTE Andy Thomson with Dr Szydlo holding his trophy

Director of DTE Andy Thomson with Dr Andrew Szydlo

Director or DTE Andrew Thomson (pictured above with Dr Szydlo) said: “I still can’t believe Andrew has been teaching for nearly 50 years! The energy and passion seems to be burning as bright as it ever did. This award is a great way of celebrating his impact on education. He has the ability to connect with everyone he comes into contact with. One of his many passions is the automobile society which he set up 40 years ago which has inspired many students into the world of automotive engineering and also the love for classic cars. He has definitely left his mark on Highgate and the community which will never disappear, no matter how much Swarfega one uses!”

Dr Szydlo will now be in the running for one of 14 Gold Awards later in the year, in a programme that will be broadcast on the BBC. The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of exceptional teachers, founded in 1998 by Lord Puttnam to recognise the life-changing impact an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of the young people they work with. This year marks its 22nd year of celebrating, award-winning teachers, teaching assistants, headteachers and lecturers across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Dr Szydlo - Chemistry Experiment

Michael Morpurgo, celebrated author and former Children’s Laureate, and President of the Teaching Awards Trust, said:

“Over the past year, we have, all of us, come to appreciate and respect the value of teachers. They have so often been taken for granted. Not any more. Parents know now what it takes to teach, and teach well, and how much commitment, dedication and enthusiasm and knowledge and understanding, yes – and patience. Children know it too, if they didn’t before. So many missed their teachers as well as their friends. We all honour them today. Let’s now praise them, wish them well and above all, thank them.”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“My warmest congratulations go to all this year’s silver award winners. They should be proud to receive this recognition of their commitment to the profession, and the outstanding education and guidance they provide for their students. Teachers and school staff up and down the country consistently go above and beyond for their students, and this is especially true over the past few months. It is down to their hard work that schools have been able to open their gates to all pupils again for the start of the new term, and I cannot say thank you enough for everything they have done.”

Magical experiments that could make Hogwarts’ pupils envious

Dr Szydlo - Chemistry Experiment with billowing smoke

Read more in Dr Szydlo’s interview with the Ham & High newspaper here.