EXCELLENCE in the region’s education world was celebrated yesterday at the annual North East School Awards.
Winners of the popular campaign were announced at a glitzy ceremony held at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland.Related content
The awards are now in their sixth year and saw The Journal teaming up with its sister paper on Teesside, the Evening Gazette, and our associate sponsor, Northumbrian Water.
The campaign aims to celebrate the outstanding work taking place in our region’s classrooms and thank the unsung heroes who make it happen.
Overall School of the Year Award went to Edmondsley Primary School in County Durham for its fantastic work in embedding the values of the Olympic Games into the classroom curriculum.
The school scored a hat-trick as it also picked up the Healthy School Award and one of its teachers, Chris Baker, scooped Inspirational Primary School Teacher of the Year.
Pupil Abigail Latimer, eight, said: “I was really nervous about being on stage, but I am really pleased our school won.”
Classmate Lydia Pye, seven, said: “I really enjoyed the event. It was lots of fun and I’d like to come back again.”
Mrs Baker added: “I feel very humble as I was nominated by my colleagues.
“Anyone can be an inspirational teacher – they just need to be inspired and I’m lucky to have colleagues at Edmondsley who do just that. They allow me time and space to develop my ideas, whether they’re crackers or not, and help me along the way.”
Five awards were presented to individuals who received a handmade trophy and four went to school projects. The winners of the project categories received a £1,000 bursary.
The Inspirational Secondary School Teacher of the Year Award went to Peter Atkinson from Fyndoune Community College in Sacriston, County Durham. He was nominated by a group of students for his tireless efforts to raise achievement in maths.
He said: “All of the time I am trying to encourage my students to pick up a pen and do some work, so the fact they picked up a pen to nominate me for this award off their own back really means a lot.
“To be appreciated by your colleagues is one thing, but to know your work and efforts are appreciated by your students is very special indeed.”
The Caretaker of the Year Award went to Billy Pugh, who has worked at Holystone Primary School in North Tyneside for the last three years.
He said: “I didn’t know that I had been nominated until I was called into a meeting after school one day. When I arrived, everyone was clapping and cheering; I couldn’t believe it.
“I love the job and just to be nominated was a huge buzz.”
The Active Community Award was won by King James I Academy in Bishop Auckland for its (Bishop Auckland Theatre Hooligans project.
The venture helps young people build their confidence through dance and theatre skills, and the students have also developed links with peers in other countries. Students from the school entertained the guests at the awards ceremony with a dance routine.
Student Tyler Thompson, 16, said: “We felt privileged to be invited and we are pleased with the response we received from the audience for our performance.
“The prize money is a massive help and will go back to the young people to keep the project going.”
The Newspaper of the Year Award went to Hetton School in Houghton-le-Spring. Fourteen-year-old Sam Block, the newspaper’s chief reporter, said: “We have been running the newspaper for the last two years and are over the moon to have won.”
Paul Mansfield from Walworth Special School in Newton Aycliffe won the Support Staff of the Year Award.
The Sustainable School Award went to Oakfields Community College in Middlesbrough for its project which makes products from recycled plastic and the Headteacher of the Year Award went to Linda Halbert from Freebrough Academy in Saltburn.
As well as Northumbrian Water, the awards are also sponsored by the University of Sunderland, Nexus and the Centre for Life.
North East School Awards winners
Headteacher of the Year – Linda Halbert from Freebrough Academy, Saltburn
Inspirational Secondary School Teacher of the Year – Peter Atkinson from Fyndoune Community College, Sacriston, County Durham
Inspirational Primary School Teacher of the Year – Chris Baker from Edmondsley Primary School, County Durham
Caretaker of the Year – Billy Pugh from Holystone Primary School, North Tyneside
Support Staff of the Year – Paul Mansfield from Walworth Special School, Newton Aycliffe, County Durham
Active Community Award – King James I Academy, Bishop Auckland, County Durham
Healthy School Award – Edmondsley Primary School, County Durham
Newspaper of the Year Award – Hetton School, Houghton-le-Spring
Sustainable School Award – Oakfields Community College, Middlesbrough