For one special night, those in the education sector who have worked so hard to help and inspire children and young people across the county in what has been the most challenging of years, got their turn in the spotlight.
The Northamptonshire Education Awards may have been forced online by social distancing, but still provided a glittering occasion to celebrate the fantastic schools, departments and individuals who kept going through remote learning and endlessly changing regulations and guidelines to do their best for our children.
Ben Thomas, from awards organisers All Things Management, said: “Business needs education and education needs business, and our aim is to try to bring the two together. I think year we all appreciate the hard work that goes on in the education sector more than ever before and tonight is a chance for the teachers, headteachers, staff and managers who’ve had such a hard year to sit back, enjoy this evening and say We’ve Done Well!”
Roade Primary School had double reason to celebrate, taking the Overall School of the Year Award as well as seeing Mark Currell receive the Headteacher of the Year Award.
Mark said: “This is a time for every child, every parent, every grandparent and every member of staff. We are very fortunate to be in a community where everyone goes above and beyond, and all we have done is try to keep that joy and love going through what has been a very tough time.”
The full list of winners is as follows:
English Teacher or Team of the Year (sponsored by ncfe cache)
Angela Brown – Corby Technical School
Maths Teacher of the Year (sponsored by MHA MacIntyre Hudson)
Philip Evans – Cogenhoe Primary School
Nursery of the Year (sponsored by Apertus Group)
Primary School of the Year (sponsored by Sign In App)
STEM Award (sponsored by RS Components)
SEND Team or School of the Year (sponsored by Track NN)
Secondary School of the Year (sponsored by Wilson Browne Solicitors)
School Business Manager of the Year (sponsored by ACS)
Jed Queally – Northampton Academy
Headteacher of the Year (sponsored by Starting Off)
Mark Currell – Roade Primary School
Overall School of the Year (sponsored by The Qube)
Lifetime Achievement Award (sponsored by All Things Business)
Valda Woodbridge – Guilsborough Academy
Jo Ludlam from Warwick Community Playschool said: “We have always embraced being outdoors and made the mental wellbeing of everyone a priority and so we adapted quickly to the pandemic. I’m so proud of all of my team and I don’t get the opportunity to tell them that enough, so I hope this shows them how much they mean to me.”
Cathryn Akrill, accepting the award of Primary School of the Year on behalf of John Hellins Primary School, said: “I am so happy on behalf of all of our team. We’ve gone from the bottom 5% of schools to the top 5% due to an exceptional team under exceptional leadership from a headteacher who inspires us every day.”
The SEND Team or School of the Year was won by Daventry Hill School. Headteacher Gareth Ivett said: “I think what I’m so pleased about is that this is a team award and what we do is very much a team we have built at Daventry Hill School. We started off by asking ourselves about our vision and our values and our Why? And from there we saw that our purpose was to deliver aspirations for adulthood for all our pupils.”
Wrenn School was named Secondary School of the Year, and Vice Principal Rebecca Hales said: “We are thrilled to win this award. I think the school has pulled together; we call ourselves a family and that is what we are. We’re here to ensure that every one of the children are supported both educationally and pastorally and we can do that with the phenomenal team we have here.”
Jed Queally from Northampton Academy was named School Business Manager of the Year. He said: “The school has come so far to be named as one of the 30 most improved schools in the country and I’m so proud to win this award. Thank you.”
The final award of the evening was the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented to Valda Woodbridge who recently retired from Guilsborough Academy after 30 years in teaching.
The judges’ comments said that she had been described by her pupils as an inspiration, kind, dedicated and a legend. Valda described the highlights of her career as being: “Those moments when you know that a student has fulfilled their potential and you were part of that. Teachers have to keep on being these special people to help students fulfil the potential they didn’t know they had.”