Schools, staff and pupils across the North East saw their hard work rewarded at this year’s Journal School Awards.
From inspirational teachers and dedicated school staff to the hard-working pupils themselves, the region’s schools were honoured with prizes during a glittering ceremony at Ramside Hall, in Country Durham, today.
Working alongside The Journal’s sister paper on Teesside, The Gazette, the awards recognised the hard and often unsung work done in making a real difference to children’s education.
The nine gongs were split into two sections, with five awards for projects going on in schools and five recognising the best staff in the region’s education.
This year’s winners included Lesley Atkinson, from Washington Comprehensive in Sunderland, who received the Inspirational Secondary School Teacher award.
The well-loved science teacher has energised her pupils across all things science and was shocked to have received the accolade against such stiff opposition.
She said: “Seeing the pupils achieve, progress and follow their dreams is what makes my job so worthwhile. Science is an important subject for the children to learn and it will help set them up for life.”
The awards ceremony included entertaining presentations by pupils from across the region; from raps to jaw-dropping dance routines to showcase the childrens’ talents.
The prize for the most healthy school went to Crookhill Primary School, in Gateshead, for the school’s focus on oral health as well as using PE as a curriculum driver.
Danielle Johnson, class teacher and healthy school coordinator at Crookhill Primary said: “The hard work from all the staff and pupils has paid off today. It’s a whole-school project which everyone takes part in. The children are enthused by it and run their own healthy-food tuck shop. What I find the most inspiring is that the children want to make the change to a healthy lifestyle themselves.”
The Inspirational Primary School Teacher award went to Rachel Baxter, who has been a teacher at Pallister Park Primary School in Middlesbrough, since 1996.
She has been teaching gymnastics and dance at the school since she started and has guided the children to success in both regional and national competitions.
“I’m over the moon with this award,” she said. “Working with such talented children is what makes my job so special. A lot of the dances that we perform come from the children themselves. They are full of ideas and the ability to express themselves. They are full of imagination and winning their appreciation means a lot to me.”