He admits he was, "completely gobsmacked and embarrassed about the fuss", but TyneMet teacher, Steve McQuaid is over the moon about being given an award thanks to his students.

Steve, 52 , from Whitley Bay, teaches Quantitative Methods - which he says is a more friendly way of saying mathematics - on the college's Higher Education Foundation Course in conjunction with Northumbria University and several other colleges in the region.

These courses are aimed at people who have been out of education for a while, who don't have A levels and want to go on to university. Each year, Northumbria University asks around 2000 students from across the college group to vote for their favourite teacher. Steve is one of four to receive the, 'Applauding Teaching Award'.

A modest Steve said: "I was honoured. I think the thing I find most pleasing is that it is the students who've done this. It tells me I must be doing something right and they applaud my efforts."

Adam Clemerson, Head of Access to Learning at TyneMet said: "I am delighted that Steve has won this award, especially as it is the result of nominations by his learners, which were gathered and judged independently by staff from the University of Northumbria. It's no surprise to me that the students valued Steve as he is both an excellent teacher and a committed tutor who provides high levels of support to our learners, but it is great to see him recognised in this way.\

As well as the award, Steve gets a cheque for £250. He admits it's not exactly a 'life-changing' sum but there are plans for the cash. He said: "My wife is the Imelda Marcos of Whitley Bay so she's lining up a few shoes she might like to buy. Or I might put it towards some recording studio gear as I like to do a bit of music production."