SHE already has the vote of her pupils ­— and now Joy Helliwell has been elected Teacher of the Year in the prestigious Your UK Parliament Awards.

Miss Helliwell, who teaches at Ladybridge High School, swapped the classroom for the corridors of power of Parliament to receive the award ­— she was nominated for without her knowledge ­— from Speaker of the House of Common John Bercow.

The teacher was selected for the award for bringing the somewhat dry subject of politics alive in the classroom ­— so much so that some of her pupils have been asking how to get into politics.

This has included holding an election in school to mirror the General Election and the referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union, as well as arranging Skype sessions between politicians and pupils and showing that young people can bring about change through the democratic process.

The citizenship and RE teacher was selected by Mr Bercow, a judging panel of MPs, Peers and independent judges

Miss Helliwell received the award at a special ceremony held in the Houses of Parliament in the private apartments of Mr Bercow.

To watch her receive the award were her parents, partner Shaun, and two year-old daughter Eden and colleagues, Karen Halliwell, head of department and Sarah Ashworth, teacher.

She said: "I received a phone call three weeks before the ceremony saying I had won ­— that was the first I heard of it, at first I thought they said I had been nominated.

"I don't think I do anything different from anybody else in school in planning engaging and interesting lessons for children.

"I feel overwhelmed and privileged. This is a brilliant and amazing opportunity to come to Parliament with my colleagues to see our hard work being recognised and it has truly been a team effort.”

Miss Helliwell said she was inspired by the stories of the other winners including young asylum seekers.

"We had afternoon tea and there was time to talk to other winners and have photographs taken ­— John Bercow was very chatty, I thought because of Brexit it might have been quite hurried but it wasn't at all."

And on returning to school, the teacher received cheers and applause from her pupils who stood up as she entered class and was presented with a bouquet of flowers in assembly.

"We were given a goodie bag at the awards, which included a tile from 1846 and the children wanted to touch it, saying Winston Churchill could on walked on there," said Miss Helliwell, "I always say to pupils that politics affects every aspect of their life.

"I say to those who say politics is boring and they would rather play computer games, that the age restrictions, the business of creating the game has everything to do with politics.

"I tell pupils that even though they may be too young to vote they do have a voice and can make a difference."

David Clark, Head of Education and Engagement at UK Parliament, said: “All of the winners have made a huge difference in their communities and beyond, and importantly will also inspire others to get involved and make their voices heard in democracy."