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Pride of Britain's maths maestro

GONGED OUT: Clifford Harding, centre, with Lord Mayor of Birmingham Councillor Mike Leddy, left, and Lady Mayoress Pauline Leddy

HE IS the Pride of Britain and the pride of Birmingham too after millions of TV viewers watched maths maestro Clifford Harding scoop a national award for his unique way of teaching youngsters their times tables.

The 36-year-old won the Prince’s Trust Achiever honour during ITV’s Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards for overcoming long term unemployment and dyslexia to be an inspiration for the next generation of children by teaching them maths to rhymes.

And Harding, also known as NK after his company New Kreations, got a “ten out of ten” from Birmingham Lord Mayor Councillor Mike Leddy who called his journey to success “a fascinating story”.

He said: “Teachers do their very best to provide the right ethos for learning and you have provided them with another valuable tool in their armoury.”

As he congratulated Harding, the Lord Mayor pledged to promote his unique teaching style that teachers across Birmingham are supporting after seeing their students’ numeracy skills soar.

Councillor Bob Beauchamp said: “When we first heard about Clifford and his ‘Tunes Times Tables’ we were a bit doubtful but he came to one school like a bottle of pop. He soon had the children in the palm of his hand. He was inspirational and the kids were as keen as mustard.”

This was backed by Barry Desmond, head teacher of Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School and his colleague Julie Taylor, who said: “We were aware that we needed to raise our numeracy standards and Clifford’s methods helped the children to use their own way of learning.

“They believed in him because he told the children they could do it. That is the power of his personality.”

Earlier this year Harding took some pupils from Corpus Christi to the House of Commons after being invited to Parliament by MPs were keen to see how children were helped by learning maths to raps and rhymes.

It is a far cry from seven years ago when Harding would arrive at primary schools with his speakers as anxious teachers looked on doubtfully.

But his Prince’s Trust business mentor Eric McBean, who praised him for his “stickability” and close friend Chicken George had every confidence in him.

“George, a DJ, who is blind, said: “We knew sometimes NK felt like giving up because he wasn’t getting the support he needed, but I used to say to him – be patient the people will come to you.”

And now they are coming to him in their droves. Harding says his phone has not stopped ringing since his Pride of Britain Award. ITV has said it wants to work with him and Harding is keen to produce an educational musical in London’s West End.

“We all have dreams and we all have goals,” said Harding, who won a place in the 2010 Guinness Book of Records for holding the world’s largest maths class.

“I want to be able to fulfil my dreams while being an inspiration to others. I want to show how you don’t have to get caught up in a negative lifestyle. Anything is possible.”

Harding, who left school with no formal qualifications and no direction, seemingly destined for a life of crime on the streets, added: “I want to push education, numeracy and literacy.

“The pinnacle for me would be to see children teaching children, realising that maths is fun.”

So remember everyone – “Eight times two is sixteen – always keep your bedroom clean.”

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