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May 25, 2022

 

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Petr Torák, Czech Romani émigré to the UK, given prestigious educators' award there

12.12.2021 10:13
From left to right: Jane Driver, Vice Principal, Queen Katherine Academy; Danut George Mihai and Marko Štrbak, community workers; Lynn Mayes – Principal, Queen Katherine Academy, Petr Torák – Executive Director, Compas Charity and author of the ROGA method; Helena Ground – International Project Coordinator, MFL/ESOL teacher. (FOTO: Compas Charity)
From left to right: Jane Driver, Vice Principal, Queen Katherine Academy; Danut George Mihai and Marko Štrbak, community workers; Lynn Mayes – Principal, Queen Katherine Academy, Petr Torák – Executive Director, Compas Charity and author of the ROGA method; Helena Ground – International Project Coordinator, MFL/ESOL teacher. (FOTO: Compas Charity)

Lynn Mayes and Petr Torák are joint winners of one of the annual Pearson National Teaching Awards in the United Kingdom. The duo were awarded one of the gold medals given for collaboration as partners.

Compas, a charity directed by Torák, has informed the Czech media of the award. The joint project called "The Roma - Narrowing the Gap Team" was given the award by The Teaching Awards Trust. The project is a collaboration between Compas and the Queen Katherine Academy high school, which Mayes directs.  

The project was based on a decade of experience with a method called "Roma of Great Abilities" (ROGA). The method is used for working with youth between ages 13 and 19.  

ROGA serves as a motivational resource for the development of personality and the strengthening of the skills that will make it possible for Romani students to successfully continue their educations. Its biggest contribution consists of building Romani pupils' self-confidence and the opportunity to meet figures of prominence who are Romani. 

"From the very beginning of this project I have quite enjoyed observing how the Romani pupils become self-confident, purposeful, successful young people. The ROGA project has aided many Romani young people with getting jobs in the police, at local authorities, in schools and in other branches. Currently we are expanding the ROGA method to Chatham, Margate, Folkestone, Cardiff and Sheffield," Torák's statement says.  

"It is a great honor for us to have received a Gold Award from the Pearson National Teaching Awards for our work supporting Romani students and their community. This award reflects the inspirational collaboration of our team with our partners from Compas Charity, which is raising the educational level and the success of our children irrespective of where they begin," said Mayes.

Torák has lived in the United Kingdom since 1999. His family left the North Bohemian town of Liberec after being repeatedly subjected to physical assault by neo-Nazis. 

In Britain he worked on the police force for several years. In 2015 he was made a Member of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his work for the Romani community.

Since 2021 he has been an honorary consul of the Czech Republic in Peterborough, England. The Teaching Awards Trust has been giving its honors in the UK since 1998.

The award was established to appreciate excellent performance in the British education system and to draw attention to educators' determination to change children's lives through study. The jury gives several gold and silver awards in categories such as Teacher of the Year or Assistant of the Year.

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Awards, Czech Republic, Education, UK



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