All things education were celebrated at an annual awards ceremony last night.
The Northampton Chronicle & Echo and Northamptonshire Telegraph Education Awards, and Northamptonshire County Council’s Youth Ambition Awards, took place at Wicksteed Park in Kettering.
Event host Neil Pickford, the Communities Content Editor for newspapers in Northamptonshire, said: “hese awards are a special event in our newspaper’s calendar.
“This is a chance for us to celebrate our outstanding schools, and recognise the people who make them great.”
The first category of the night was the Primary School of the Year Award, sponsored by Education Group.
This category recognises the school for Its positive contribution to the community, raising pupil achievement, or colabrative work with other schools, to raise standards and inspire learning.
The finalists were:
Irchester Community Primary School for its achievements associated with their science facility
Loddington Primary School for creating a caring and learning environment, ensuring the children understand how to treat and care for each other
Millbrook Junior School, Kettering, for encouraging children, regardless of needs, level or ability
The Abbey Primary School, Northampton, for outstanding behaviour, where all the pupils are extremely polite and courteous
Roade Primary School, for their pupils good punctuality and high attendance and enjoyment of coming to school
The winner was Loddington Primary School. A parent of a child who is registered disabled said of the school: “Loddington is a wonderful and caring and every day has been a dream, as they have a way of including every child in all activities, both in and outside the classroom.” This is only one of the reasons the school was awarded the primary school of the year.
The second category was Secondary School of the Year, sponsored by Stanair.
Finalists were recognised for a rich and varied curriculum, as well as innovative extra curriculum activities for pupils and encouraging young people to be citizens of the local, nation and global community.
The finalists were:
Kingsthorpe College, Northampton, for transformational leadership by the principle and for receiving outstanding support from the governing body
Sir Christopher Hatton Academy, Wellingborough, for ensuring that when students leave they are extremely well equipped to take their place in society as young adults
The Latimer Arts College, Barton Seagrave, for being very proud of all their students and place no boundaries on ambition, no limits on aspirations and no barriers in the way of achievement
Montsaye Academy, Rothwell, for their vertical tutoring system, with students in mixed age forms, allowing them to develop a caring, supportive ethos and respect for oneself and for each other
The Ferrers School, Higham Ferrers, where the governors were praised for being passionate about their work and the inspectors said the quality of provision and achievement of students in the sixth form is good.
The winner was Kingsthorpe College.
Mr Pickford said: “One of the reasons why Kingsthorpe College won this award was that in the past year they have gone from strength to strength. A quote from one of the parents was that she has seen progress that is breathtaking and has impacted on all aspects of school life.”
The third category was the Inspirational Teaching Award, which also includes LSA, HLTA, TA and classroom assistant, sponsored by Wicksteed Park.
This award is for the person who has made an outstanding contribution and provided or assisted with a real, relevant curriculum.
The finalists were:
Sue Morris, Rowan Gate Primary School, Wellingborough, for teaching students to be the best they can be and to always do their best, never telling them they can’t do things
Louise Mann, Weston Favell Academy, for always going that extra mile on behalf of the students, to help them reach their full potential and spends countless hours of her own time supporting and advising her students
Michael Jackson, Kingsthorpe College, for his passion and enthusiasm for art, which has infected staff and students alike and has helped the art faculty go from strength to strength
John Gillet, The Bramptons Primary School, Church Brampton, for his commonsense approach to teaching and is a genuine role model for everyone in the school
Brendan Moylan, Moulton Primary School, for supporting children with special needs and helping them to attend mainstream education
Sasha Charman, Barton Infants School, described as one in a million by the person who nominated her and derserves recognition for all her help and support
Richard White, Corby Business Academy, for working part of the week with a student with physical difficulties, displaying a great amount of professionalism and empathy
The winner was Louise Mann.
As one student said of her, “she is unbelievably knowledgeable and always has her door open and never fails to brighten mine and other people’s day”.
The fourth category was Special School of the Year, sponsored by MacIntyre Hudson.
This award recognises schools which have stretched, challenged and inspired pupils to help them reach their true potential and to enhance learning opportunities and experiences.
The finalists were:
Billing Brook School. All pupils have a brighter future after being at this school, with a much better opportunity to be part of society today, as children and tomorrow as adults.
Hospital and Outreach Education. This is a pupil referral unit in Northamptonshire for children and young people who are unable to attend school, due to medical or mental health difficulties. The PRU was judged outstanding by Ofsted.
Rowan Gate Primary School, Wellingborough. They believe that all pupils are unique, with their own amazing talents and abilities. This also goes for the staff who teach them too.
Wren Spinney Community Special School, Kettering. At their shop and salon, the school has developed partnerships with various schools providing outreach work experiences for pupils.
The winner was Billing Brook School.
Mr Pickford said: “The moment you set foot inside the school, you get a sense of warmth and happiness.
“The pupils are able to learn in a fun and created atmosphere, supported by incredibly dedicated staff.”
The fifth award was the Community Award, sponsored by The EBP.
This award gives recognition to a school or individual that has impacted on the community through school projects, welcoming the community into the school and sharing facilities.
The finalists were:
Alex Bennett, Kingsthorpe College, for being committed to developing positive relationships with local people, by engaging with various groups, schools and organisations, to ensure that the college is a valued part of the community.
Rushden Academy, Team Pheonix. They have inspired and continue to inspire students and staff and have brought local charity, Pheonix Resource Centre into the heart of the school community.
Shailen Popat, who took the initiative to commence his own project called Realize and has been very successful, with hundreds of children and young people in rural Northamptonshire receiving professional and social education services.
Wren Spinney Community Special School. The school has built strong community relationships, over the past year and has sought further strengthen and improve its work with pupils in helping them to engage with and be part of the wider community.
Latimer Community Arts College, Anti-Bullying Workshop. They held an anti-bullying workshop, where around 60 children from various primary schools took part. The day was about giving the visiting pupils information about what they can do if someone they know is being bullied.
The winner was Wren Spinney Community Special School.
Mr Pickford said: “One of the reasons why the community award was won by Wren Spinney is that six years ago they opened the town centre sweet shop, which provides work experience for the students and this year they have developed by taking sweet baskets to a variety of businesses and care homes.”
The sixth category was the Sporting Achievement Award – Individual/Team, sponsored by The Qube Module Buildings.
This rewards an individual pupil or team, excelling in a particular sport at school, or through their own commitment outside the classroom.
The finalists were:
Luke Roodt, Kingsthorpe College. Ranked number 2 in his age group, in the UK - in the discipline of Taekwondo. He also takes part in Kick Boxing and performs to a high standard, both nationally and internationally.
Friars Academy Netball Team, Wellingborough. The team took part in the GB Special Olympics netball competition and performed to an outstanding level, working as a team, communicating and supporting each other and above all showing great talent. They finished the tournament unbeaten and in first place.
Wrenn School Football Team, Year 9. They have remained unbeaten in Wellingborough and Rushden distrct, for the 3rd successive season and have won many competitions and titles.
Callum Barker, Kingsthorpe College. Callum was born with cerebral palsy, he has taken part in many chess tournaments, achieving many wins. More recently he has been involved in boccia and also got through to the finals of table cricket.
Nathan Phillips, Manor Sports College, Ruands. Nathan is a talented athlete who has represented the school with distinction on many occasions. He has thrown himself into sport and developed excellent leadership skills.
The winner was Friars Academy Netball Team.
Mr Pickford said: “This team have achieved numerous recognition, such as the Great Britain special olympics netball competition, which they won, making them national champions.
“They took part in the England netball Marion Smith national championship, for people with learning disabilities and as with their last tournament, played exceptionally well and finished in first place.”
The seventh category was the Unsung Hero Award, sponsored by Western Power Distribution.
This pays tribute to those who make a significate contribution to the school community behind the scenes and have an impact on daily school life. This could range from a volunteer, caretaker or school bursars..
The finalists were:
Tracy Fielding, Head Teacher, Millbrook Junior School. Tracy is dedicated, hard working and fiercely committed to the school, which resonates throughout the staff in the school. Both Tracy and the school are making a real difference.
Richard and Lyn Petty, teachers at Wrenn School, Wellingborough. Richard & Lynn have dedicated their entire teaching careers to Wrenn School, they are both in their 36th year in the teaching profession. There contribution can never be truly quantified.
Julie Broadbent, learning resource manager at Kingsthorpe College. Julie is always happy and smiling and full of energy, greeting every student by name and welcoming them into a world of possibilities, imagination and dreams.
Amy McKay and Christina Mangin, librarian and assistant librarian at Corby Business Academy. They have received the gold library award and have organised visits from a range of top authors. They transformed the library into Hogwarts for the inaugural Harry Potter night, with a range of treats and activities.
Carrie Saunders, inclusion support officer, Elizabeth Woodville school, Roade. She supports young people who need extra help to help them get the best from the school. She gives vital support to vulnerable children in the school.
The winners were Amy McKay and Christina Mangin.
Mr Pickford said: “Amy and Christina are true unsung heroes.
“Just some of the things they have achieved for the library at Corby Business Academy are: They launched an international book club, run an annual chess tournament, launched a live induction challenge and set up an on line library catalogue. There ongoing commitment to the students is incredible.”
The winner of the University of Northampton’s Change Maker Award 2015, which looks at all the winners from the previous categories, was Billing Brook School.
Also held last night at Wicksteed Park were the Northamptonshire County Council Youth Ambition Awards.
A pupil who started a bullying support service and a group of students who distribute food to people in need were among those honoured.
The awards, held in partnership with Connexions, recognised some of the fantastic things being done by children and young people across Northamptonshire.
Awards were given out in five categories:
Young Apprentice of the Year
The Arts Award
Young Role Model of the Year
Project or Campaign of the Year
The Taking Charge of Your Life Award
The winners also included an ambassador for apprenticeships, a teenager who has overcome two life-affecting illnesses to pass her GCSEs and a theatre group who developed a play about body image.
County council deputy leader Cllr Heather Smith said: “Last night was a wonderful opportunity for us to highlight some of the incredible achievements of young people in Northamptonshire.
“It was incredibly difficult to select the winners from all of the fantastic nominations we received, and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to put someone forward for an award.”
Dr Paul Blantern, county council chief executive, said: “We heard some truly incredible stories last night and it was a real honour to meet the young people who were shortlisted for an award.”
Young Apprentice of the Year Lufuidy Paxi, 19, is a business administration apprentice with the British Footwear Association and is an apprentice ambassador, giving talks to schools about the benefits of apprenticeships.
Lufuidy’s manager Kevin Traynor, finance director at the British Footwear Association, said: “Lufuidy approaches every task she is given in a very mature and professional manner and is very keen to learn new skills.
“She has grown in confidence and actively contributes to day-to-day developments, helping colleagues and members of the association alike. She is an inspiration to others.”
The Arts Award winner was County Youth Theatre.
The Year 7 students at the County Youth Theatre developed and performed a play called Gorgeous, which looks at issues around body image.
They performed the play at a local young person’s wellbeing event and in London for International Women’s Day.
Their drama teacher Nikki Taylor said: “The small cast worked in their own time rehearsing and getting to grips with the difficult topic that the play represents.
“These two performances gave the students a chance to share a very important message about body image, self-esteem and mental health, and explored ways in which they can be tackled in a positive and enlightened way.”
Project or Campaign of the Year was given to Team Phoenix.
Team Phoenix is a group of seven pupils from Rushden Academy who help to distribute surplus food from local supermarkets to food banks and night shelters on behalf of the Phoenix Resource Centre charity.
The students also gathered food to send to people affected by the earthquake in Nepal and have recently launched a breakfast club to give Year 11 students taking their exams a good start to their day.
John Richardson, trustee at the Phoenix Resource Centre, said: “Team Phoenix have a wonderful work ethic and work far harder than the majority of adult volunteers we see during the working week.
“They are a very modest group of youngsters who won’t expect any thanks or recognition for what they do as they are just passionate about helping those in need.”
Young Role Model of the Year are Melissa Churchill and Samuel Turner.
Melissa volunteers at Kingsthorpe Library and played a key role during last summer’s reading challenge.
As a result, 256 children completed the summer challenge, reading 768 books between them.
She also played a key role at a Frozen-themed event at the library, where she read to almost 200 children dressed as Anna.
Library manager Richard Boardman said: “Throughout this past year Mel has proven dependable and in many cases indispensible.
“She is popular with the children and more impressively she is popular with the parents who are happy for their little ones to rush and play with Mel when she is in the building.
“She has changed lives as these children now come to the library more regularly.”
Samuel, 11, has established an anti-bullying team at Sponne School after noticing that a couple of pupils were having difficulties.
He identified safe places for pupils to spend their break-times and set up a helpline for them to call if they needed support.
“He is hoping to extend this project to other year groups at the school.
His teacher Sean Marshall said: “Sam’s real achievement has been to encourage and inspire the willing participation of other students to tackle a worthwhile cause and to have the drive and determination to make it succeed.
“That is why he is a true role model.”
The Taking Charge of Your Life Award went to Skye Wheeler.
Skye, 16, has battled a serious eye condition which resulted in numerous hospital stays and has been diagnosed with the chronic condition ME.
Despite these challenges, she achieved good GCSE grades and has just started an apprenticeship as an assistant pharmacist.
Her grandmother Dawn Prosser said: “Skye is learning to manage with the very little energy that her illness allows here and through the many tears and heartache she soldiered on through her GCSE exams with very good grades.
“She has great tenacity and she wakes up every morning hoping she is well enough to get through her day.”