TEACHER Rachael Keeble (pictured) has gone to top of the class after winning a major award.

The young Severnbanks Primary School teacher has been named the best newcomer in the South West.

Pupil Victoria Frith nominated Miss Keeble for the way has made lessons such fun since starting at the Lydney school last September.

But headteacher Pam Howells says the 23-year-old, who turned her back on a career as a lawyer to go into teaching, deserves the outstanding new teacher awards for the way she has put the children first and improved their learning.

Now the whole school is hoping she will walk away with the top prize at the National Teaching Awards ceremony that goes out on BBC2 in October.

Mrs Howells told the judges that even though she has only been in the job a short time, many of her lessons are outstanding.

She said: "She is inspiring, absolutely fantastic, and very hands on.

"She really is passionate about learning and since she has been here, the children's confidence has shot through the roof."

Rachael originates from Blackwood, Gwent but knows the Forest because her mother taught at Lakers.

She was determined not to follow in the family footsteps and took a law degree at Durham University to become a high-flying barrister.

But she soon realised she had made a mistake and spent holidays doing work experience in schools before signing up for teacher training at the end of her degree,

Since joining Severnbanks in September she has used everything from philosophy circles to X Factor and even faked letters from Simon Cowell to keep her Class 4 motivated.

Parents can join in at the regular tea parties and pupils will put on a production with the youth wing of the Royal Shakespeare Company this Autumn.

Judges were impressed when they turned up to see she had turned the classroom into the inside of the Tardis, complete with blue flashing lights.

The Dr Who Challenge to feed the Tardis with knowledge was used to teach the children history and other subjects.

"There's one little boy who really struggled to get motivated and it was something he was really into," she explained.

Rachael, who now lives in Mitcheldean, did not know she had won the regional award until she turned up for work on the last day of term to see her parents sitting in school assembly.

"I thought they might have come for a tea party until they started playing the Dr Who theme tune," she said.

"But the best thing of all was when I went back to my class and they gave me three cheers. They have been magnificent, I could not have done it without their enthusiasm."

Lydney's Mayor Bill Osborne presented Rachael with her award during the assembly praising her and the school for their outstanding performance.