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Headteacher, Mr Barrs is awarded by the Prime Minister

An Essex headteacher who has dedicated over thirty years of his life to bringing the message of the UN to young people across the region has been named a Point of Light by Prime Minister David Cameron.

David Barrs [60] from Ingatestone in Essex was inspired as a young geography teacher by the UN’s message of inclusivity and social justice and has been promoting it in the UK among young people ever since, enabling more than 400 young people to visit the UN in Geneva and New York City. 

David is the latest recipient of a Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements. 

With the UN Association (UK) David edited a series of UN Kits to mark the 50th anniversary of the UN in 1994 .They used UN contexts to support the teaching of the National Curriculum. A further edition, using the framework of the International Baccalaureate curriculum was also commissioned and 80,000 copies were distributed worldwide to over 160 countries. They were translated into 12 languages including the 6 official UN languages 

Prime Minister David Cameron said: 

“David has shown young people the importance of international relations, giving them an understanding of how different nations can work together to do good. His work has had an impact across the UK and beyond, with the visits he organises helping to bring learning to life for hundreds of children. I congratulate him on becoming a Point of Light.”

David was awarded the UN Silver Medal for this work.  He has spoken at over 50 schools around the country and organises a UN quiz for local schools in his home town of Saffron Walden which has been running for over 20 years.

David is the 361st winner of the Points of Light award which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA and was first established by President George H. W. Bush. Over 5,000 US Points of Light have been awarded and both President George H. W. Bush and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK which honours shining examples of volunteering across the country.

Regardless of whether it’s a doctor restoring local monuments in her free time, a father teaching young people life skills, or a local musician giving a voice to lonely people, the Point of Light award honours shining examples of volunteering across the UK.

David said:

“My geography teaching introduced me to the work of the UN, the UN work introduced me to the International Baccalaureate and as a Headteacher I also volunteer my time to the IB as a member of the Board of Governors and Chairman of the Heads Council.  The UN and the IB inspire me and have given me the opportunity to make a difference – which I hope in some way I have”