THE woman behind a private tutoring company helping students throughout the UK and even as far as North Africa has been given national recognition for her work.

Claire Clarke has been named the Inspiring Teacher 2023 by the British Dyslexia Society.

She was chosen from literally thousands of nominations because of her ability to enable people to reach their full potential and overcome barriers in Higher Education.

Claire has worked in further and higher education for 18 years as a qualified lecturer and a Specialist Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) Tutor.

Previously, she also won the University of Cumbria Student Union Support Tutor award during her time teaching at the university.

She has since founded and is a director of Aspire Tutor Services, a not for profit organisation with seven specialists supporting dyslexia, specific learning difficulties, and autism spectrum, as well as mental health services, mostly online, for universities and college students throughout the country.

Her passion for working with people facing these extra barriers to learning is in her genes.

“My mum started the first Cumbria Dyslexia Association over 40 years ago and she would be so proud that I’ve continued to carry her torch," she said.

“Over the years I’ve seen many advances and help for dyslexic and neurodiverse students in primary and secondary education.

"However, the advances are often short-lived as funding is removed or policy changed.”

This can cause barriers to education - and these barriers do exist, she said, and, in accepting her award, she gave two examples: “I had one student who told me she was asked not to do her GCSE Maths and English because of the impact on the schools league table.

"Somehow she carried on, got these qualifications, and went on to get a first-class honours degree in nursing.

“Another student, who didn’t pass A-Levels, but somehow found the strength to continue with her education and bypass the barriers, was commissioned by the nuclear industry to do a PHD in nuclear engineering.

"These are just two of hundreds of students I have seen over the years.”

Claire was selected from thousands of nominations, due to past and present student comments including: “She makes me believe I can overcome dyslexia” and “she has the patience of a saint”.

She said: “To know that my students in higher education have nominated me is incredible.

"It means the absolute world to me.”