AN INNOVATOVE idea to combine language with dance has helped one inspirational teacher to win the German Consulate Teacher of the Year Award.

Helen Smail, head of the German department at Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls, was presented with the prestigious prize during a glamorous event at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.

Her unique approach to teaching, dedication and passion for the subject put Mrs Smail above all other nominees for the national accolade.

She said: “I’m absolutely thrilled.

“It was a real surprise because I didn’t know I would get anything.

“The award is for setting standards of excellence in teaching German as a foreign language in the UK.”

Mrs Smail’s boundless enthusiasm for teaching German at the school had resulted in her working together with the dance department to combine the two subjects.

“At AS level and A level, language uptake is decreasing, but not at this school,” she added.

“We try to inspire the girls and help them to understand why there is a need to learn German.

“I worked on a massively innovative and creative, cross-curricular project between German and dance.

“We put on Vorsprung durch Dance, which expressed modern German history through the medium of dance and even secured sponsorship from Audi.

“I think that really stood out to judges because it was totally, utterly innovative and sector-leading.”

More than 200 teachers and representatives from the education and language teaching sectors from all over the UK joined the celebrations, hosted by German Ambassador Dr Peter Ammon.