Champions of education have been honoured at a prestigious ceremony as the school year ends on a high.
The winners of the North East School Awards were announced at a special event held at the Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club yesterday.
Now in their seventh year, the popular awards are run by The Journal in association with our sister paper on Teesside, The Evening Gazette.
The aim is to highlight fantastic work taking place in our region’s schools and praise the unsung heroes who make it all possible. Four awards were presented for school projects and five went to individuals who made an outstanding contribution to school life.
The winners were presented with a special trophy and certificate, while the project winners also received £500 to support their work.
The winners were:
Healthy School Award – Pallister Park Primary in Middlesbrough.
Sustainable School Award, sponsored by Nexus – Stocksfield Avenue Primary School in Newcastle.
Learning through Internet and ICT Award, sponsored by Teesside University – Newham Bridge Primary School in Middlesbrough.
Best School in the Community Award, sponsored by Northumbrian Water – The King Edward VI School in Morpeth, Northumberland.
School Support Staff of the Year Award -– Eleanor Stoves, from St Joseph’s RC Middle School in Hexham, Northumberland.
Caretaker of the Year Award, sponsored by Blueline Taxis – Jeff Wilkinson from Westgate Hill Primary School in Newcastle.
Inspirational Head Teacher Award, sponsored by Life Science Centre – Christine Wain from Pallister Park Primary School in Middlesbrough.
Inspirational Primary School Teacher Award, sponsored by The Education Network – Ann Champion from Bow School in Durham.
Inspirational Secondary School Teacher Award, sponsored by the University of Sunderland – Steve Braysher from Ponteland High School in Northumberland.
Mr Braysher, who retires from Ponteland High School today was nominated for bringing geography lessons to life and for helping to organise charitable trips for students and staff to support a village in Kenya.
He said: “I couldn’t believe it when I was told I’d been nominated; I thought it was a wind up. I still don’t think I deserve it, because I work with brilliant colleagues and it’s all a team effort.
“We’ve been arranging trips to Kenya since 1996 and the work has a profound effect on the students; with some returning and changing their courses for university because of the experience.”
He added: “In my retirement, I hope to travel, starting with Peru in September, and to volunteer with more development projects. This award ceremony has been a great send-off.”
The King Edward VI School in Morpeth received the Best in the Community Award for its work in helping residents affected by flooding. The school created its very own “flood app” – the first of its kind in the UK – and worked with NASA to design a “flood food kit”.
Student Angus Kirk, 16, said: “Being able to help our community is what it’s all about. To receive an award for doing work we love is just fantastic and we just want to say a big thank you.” Jeff Wilkinson has been caretaker at Westgate Hill Primary School in Newcastle for the past 14 years. He was nominated for the award by the school’s head teacher, June Foster.
Mr Wilkinson said: “It came as a complete surprise when I heard I’d been shortlisted for the award and I never expected to win.
“I am really quite chuffed just to have been nominated. The awards are a great idea.”
There was also a “Special Recognition Award” presented to Marwood Church of England VC Infant School in Great Ayton, near Middlesbrough.
This award was to pay tribute to how the staff and students have rallied around classmate Ruby Robinson, seven, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2012.
The audience was entertained by pupils with a variety of performances, including acting, singing and dancing. The event was hosted by Metro Radio breakfast show presenters, Steve and Karen.
Don’t miss our special supplement, which will feature more photographs from the ceremony and case studies from the finalists, coming on Thursday, July 25.