Steve James, Newcomer of the Year, Kane’s Hill Primary School

Steve James,33, a year two class teacher at Kane’s Hill Primary School, moved to Southampton to do his PGCE at Southampton University, and got a placement at Kane’s Hill on the Schools Direct programme - which gives trainee teachers the chance to learn on the job.

Now living in Woolston, he said it’s the love of spending time with the children that keeps him going. He said: “It’s the six hours you get with them every day - I think that’s what everyone loves.

"It would be impossible to define the 'best thing' about my job as there are 30 of them! I wake up every morning knowing that I will be spending the day surrounded by incredible 6 and 7 year olds each of whom is talented, gifted and unique."

But as everyone knows teaching isn't an easy career. Steve said: "Being a teacher is hard. I don't think I will ever reach the end of my 'to-do list'. However, I am lucky to be part of a fantastic team and I couldn't be more grateful to the staff at Kanes Hill School and across the Hinkler Academies Trust for the training, support and encouragement I have received over the past two years."

As a primary teacher Steve covers all subjects but his passion is drama and getting involved in the Christmas panto.

He added that every day is filled with inspirational moments - and moments of despair.

"When a child passes their ten times table after weeks of hard-work you dance around the classroom in celebration and then find yourself comforting another member of the class who has lost their cat and you feel completely useless.

"Seeing a child's eyes light up when they discover your classroom has been destroyed by dinosaurs provides you with incomparable job satisfaction and listening to the child who never speaks read their diary to the class for the first time fills you with pride.

"I am always inspired by the children in my class and I hope, that in some small way, I can inspire them. Half way through my training year I was sent a photo of a child from my previous school dressed in a loud shirt, chinos and dark rimmed glasses, when asked to dress as a hero on a non-uniform day he had dressed as me."

He was nominated by Shellie Dudley-Hunter for Mr James’ “unique teaching style and personality” and for “injecting fun into every aspect of the school day.”