A Sunderland headteacher is in the running for a national Teacher of the Year competition with a possible prize of £1,250 in Sunderland Gift Cards.

Claire McKinney, headteacher at Richard Avenue Primary School, was nominated by parent Lucy Richards.

Ms Richards expressed high praise for Miss McKinney's inclusive approach.

She said: "Sunderland is a multi-cultural community and Miss McKinney embraces this diversity and welcomes everyone.

"Miss McKinney leads the staff at Richard Avenue to share her ethos of being child-centred and bringing out the best in the children.

"If you could imagine an ideal headteacher, it would be Miss McKinney."

Miss McKinney said: "It's a very special community here at Richard Avenue and a great privilege to be Head Teacher.

"Our connections are important.

"A kind word of acknowledgment and time taken to welcome new families is our highest priority.

"In our school there is a place for everyone, and everyone has a place."

The national competition, which runs until August 31, allows all UK-based teachers to be nominated.

The winner and their school will each receive a £500 town and city gift card.

A lucky person will also get a £250 local gift card for nominating the winning teacher.

Sharon Appleby, chief executive of Sunderland BID, extended her congratulations.

She said: "This is a heartwarming story that demonstrates just how much impact our schools, teachers and headteachers have on not only pupils and families, but on our communities too.

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"Congratulations to Miss McKinney and Richard Avenue for the nomination."

The competition is led by Miconex and sponsored by GiftRound, promoting shopping locally.

Colin Munro, the managing director of Miconex, said: "As we approach the summer holidays, there’s never been a better time to show your thanks and appreciation for a special teacher.

Craig Forsythe, GiftRound's founder, spoke about celebrating teachers' hard work.

He said: "We’re delighted to sponsor the Teacher of the Year competition.

"Teachers’ gifts are amongst the most popular collections on GiftRound so we know how appreciated teachers are by parents and children."