A TEACHER who went back to uni nearly ten years ago to start a new career has been named one of the best in the county.

Karen Payne, 46, was named the Adult Community Learning Professional of the Year at the Essex Teaching Award.

The mum-of-two, from Broomfield, has taught English classes with the county council’s ACL programme for six years.

Through the scheme, people aged 17 and over attend lessons in a variety of subjects ranging from standard school topics to vocational areas like floristry.

Having worked as a buyer for Marks & Spencers in London for 15 years, Mrs Payne decided to find a new job in order to spend more time with her family.

This led her to studying for a degree at Anglia Ruskin University before eventually beginning her life as a tutor within the ACL programme.

Mrs Payne said she felt very proud to win the award for simply doing a job she loves.

“I was thrilled to bits when they read my name out,” she said.

“I really enjoy this job because you never know who is going to come into the classroom and that helps make it very satisfying and challenging.”