A TEACHER has been announced as 'top of the class' at a national education awards ceremony.

Helen Jones, a teacher at Flint High School, won the Outstanding New Teacher award at the Professional Teaching Awards Cymru 2018.

Nine inspirational teachers and education professionals were revealed as winners of the second annual awards and were chosen from 25 finalists across Wales.

130 guests from all four corners of Wales were invited to celebrate excellence in education in a special ceremony held at Hensol Castle, in the Vale of Glamorgan, where Welsh comedian Tudur Owen and Kirsty Williams AM, Cabinet Secretary for Education, revealed the winners of the nine categories.

Ms Jones said: "It’s all very surreal, I can’t put into words how thrilled I was just to be nominated. I didn’t originally want to be a teacher, I was planning on training to be vet - but having done work experience at my local school I changed my mind completely.

"I loved working with the pupils and all the staff were so passionate about teaching, I caught the bug and now I can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s a constant challenge, but it doesn’t feel like a job, it’s a way of life."

Kirsty Williams AM said: "The calibre of the finalists of our Professional Teaching Awards Cymru was outstanding and are a testament to the commitment, dedication and hard work of teachers and education professionals across the country, as such our judges faced a difficult task in choosing our winners.

"All nine of our winners go the extra mile and make a significant difference in their schools and most importantly to individuals.

"This year it has been fantastic to celebrate the next generation of teaching professionals already making an impact through our inaugural Outstanding New Teacher Award.

"Our education professionals are changing the lives of our future generations and helping us to raise standards and deliver an education system that is a source of national pride and confidence."

The entire awards ceremony was live-streamed across the Facebook channel @EducationWales and all nine winners were presented with bespoke, hand-crafted Griffiths Jones trophies.