A former assistant headteacher from Falconer School in Bushey has been nominated during Tottenham Hotspur’s ‘Hotspur Hero’ campaign after using his passion for sport, and Spurs, to mentor young people with learning difficulties across London and Hertfordshire.
Dan Gaze, initially from Stevenage, has spent the last 13 years working with children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties – going above and beyond during the pandemic to ensure his students had the support they needed.
Consequently, he’s been nominated by his peers as part of the Premier League football club’s Hotspur Heroes campaign, where they celebrate Spurs-supporting key workers and individuals who have made a tangible difference in their communities during this most challenging of years.
Dan spent 12 years at Falconer School, starting as a teaching assistant before moving on to be the head of PE and assistant headteacher. He now works at The Chiltern School in Houghton Regis.
Speaking to the Tottenham Hotspur FC club website, Dan said: “I think it’s important that every child should get every opportunity, whether they have special needs or not.
“When I took over at Falconers at head of PE, I thought it was important that our students still had access to mainstream sport and got the opportunity to compete at every level, whether they have low ability or high ability.
“I used sport more as a mentoring tool – you create leaders, you get people to lead warm-ups, which gives them skills for the future to go into work. You use communication, both verbal and non-verbal to express themselves.
“The motto at Falconers at the time was ‘Dream, believe, achieve’ and I thought that was a massive thing for young people to follow.”
Dan has been a lifelong Spurs fan and admits it was a heart-warming moment when he found out he was nominated.
He added: “It’s quite emotional for me to be nominated, I’m very proud of this. For Tottenham, who I’ve supported my whole life and who my eight-year-old son Maddox supports as well, to have noticed me and my work, I really appreciate it.”
“I’d like to thank all the staff and in particular the young people I’ve worked with throughout my career – I believe this is deserved recognition for them too.”