Glittering evening for Herts Ad School Awards

ONE of the biggest events in the education calendar for the St Albans district – the annual Herts Advertiser School Awards – took place last week at a gala presentation evening at Oaklands College.

Taking place in a marquee within the beautiful grounds of the Smallford campus, the event attracted teachers, pupils and support staff from various primary and secondary schools, all anxious to find out if they had won this year’s accolades.

Whether recognising pupils who are top of the class academically, sporting heroes or the teacher every pupil looks up to, this event is the chance to give them the recognition they deserve.

Opening the event, Herts Advertiser editor Matt Adams told the guests: “When we launched these awards last year we were amazed by the fantastic response, but that was nothing compared to the huge amount of entries we have received this year, all of which have been of an incredibly high standard. For the Herts Advertiser, education is at the heart of everything we do as a newspaper, and these awards are evidence of that.”

Zoe Hancock, principal of Oaklands College, added: “It was a real honour to be hosting the second Herts Advertiser School Awards and be a part of an evening that brought together such a wonderful display of talented, hardworking individuals.

“Once again I was overwhelmed by the number of nominations received for each category, it is a true reflection of the extremely high standard of our local education and I would like to congratulate all of the nominees and winners from the evening.

“I would encourage any school that takes recognising and rewarding personal achievement seriously to make a note and be part of the series for next year.”

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The awards themselves were hosted by Jack FM breakfast show DJ Chris Hubbard, who said: “Education and knowledge are essential to our way of life and through the School Awards we hope to reward those people who are making a significant contribution within education and those who are excelling within the classroom environment.

“Our special thanks go to this year’s sponsors who without their support and assistance this evening would not be able to take place, and also a thank you to our judging panel, who gave up their time to assess and mark all of the applications.”

The Teacher of the Year category proved so popular last year that we made the decision to split it into two separate awards for primary and secondary, and once again it attracted dozens of entries from nominees keen to recognise the contributions made by teaching staff across the district. This award was sponsored by Stevensons, one of the most trusted and experienced suppliers of school uniforms in the UK.

After much deliberation, the judges gave the primary award to Grant Jones from Skyswood School, and the secondary award to Tanya Angus from Nicholas Breakspear.

One of Mr Jones’ nominators, Helen Ward said: “Mr Jones shows such enthusiasm and commitment to teaching. My son’s class had a very disruptive year last year, with teacher absences and a list of different supply teachers. He started to dislike school and didn’t try with his work. This year he has made huge progress, he loves school and thinks his teacher is brilliant and wants to do well for him.

“Mr Jones recognises the individuality of children and works with their interests and allows them a lot of creativity. He makes learning fun and manages to engage all the children. He sees the strengths in different children and works with these. He also gives up his time to run lots of after school clubs. I feel that Mr Jones has a passion for teaching and doesn’t see it as just a job but as his life.”

Nicholas Breakspear’s partnership development manager for schools and sports, Tanya Angus’ role has been to develop PE and school sport to ensure all pupils have at least two hours of quality sport each week

As a result of Tanya’s efforts the school has been awarded Gold status from the Youth Sports Trust – an award for outstanding PE and support opportunities.

She was nominated by Paul Hearn, who said: “She is a natural organiser and has boundless amounts of energy, passion and enthusiasm for her vocation.

“Tanya does a huge amount of work with local sports clubs, the St Albans Sports Development team and the district council. She was also at the Herts County Show running a stall with the Herts Sports partnership informing young people about sports opportunities within the community and also helps with the St. Albans half marathon on a regular basis, as a marshal. We feel Tanya deserves the title Teacher of the Year as she really does extra go that extra mile to support pupils, rewarding their flair, commitment (in and out of school time) and talent.”

Runners-up for Teacher of the Year were Toni Robinson from The Lea Primary School and Mrs Cato from Fleetville Junior School in the primary category and Hahn Doan and Zoe Shepherd, both from Beaumont School, in the secondary category.

The winner of the Academic Achiever of the Year category was Elizabeth Worswick, who was praised for working tirelessly throughout her time at Beaumont School.

Teacher Deborah Esmizadeh, who nominated her, said: “Students who work hard from the start are often overlooked and considered ‘reliable’. However, it has not always come easy to Elizabeth, but a consistent approach over seven years has meant that she is prepared for the challenges ahead and has done very well academically. She is a well rounded, solid student, who has contributed to the whole school community and can evaluate her abilities and work to improve on them. She is without doubt a delightful young woman, one l am proud to have taught and one who will make an excellent contribution to any profession she chooses.”

Runners-up were Jennifer Hudson from Townsend CoE School and Beth Clements, also from Beaumont School. The award was sponsored by Deloitte, a global financial advisory service with a local outlook.

The Sporting Achiever of the Year award was sponsored by Neves Solicitors in Harpenden, which offers a broad range of legal services for private and business clients.

The winner was Emily Kennedy, from Roundwood Park School, who was described as dedicated and very committed, almost bouncing into the gym.

She was nominated by teacher Pauline Moxham, who said: “Emily is a true champion; for the second consecutive year she is unbeaten in the National School Novice trampolining competitions winning gold in all three rounds. Emily has a very high standard of skill on the trampoline and shows a consistently high level of accuracy, control and fluency, even under intense pressure. Emily is also a valuable member of the successful Under 15 Girls team that took Silver at the National Finals in March in Bristol, scoring over 50 marks.”

The runners-up in this category were Joe Fundrey from The Marlborough Science Academy and Guy Butterworth from St Michael’s CoE Primary School.

The Innovation or Project of the Year category recognises those schools which have embarked on an unusual initiative which has brought particular benefits to the school and the surrounding community. All projects were judged on their own merits, and the overall winner was St Columba’s College’s successful record-breaking attempt to complete the most consecutive football passes over 11 metres, in the process raising a staggering �43,000 to build a new school gym in an impoverished part of Kenya.

The runners-up were Roundwood Park’s Olympic Project, which aimed to leave a lasting legacy from the 2012 Games by organising numerous events including visiting the Lee Valley whitewater centre, and Beaumont School’s Million Makers scheme, set up over half term by Year 9 pupils to help raise funds for The Prince’s Trust, with �1,500 raised to date.

The award was sponsored by Collinsons and Halls estate agents in St Albans, two well-known companies that have been working together under the same independent ownership since 2007.

The final award of the night was the overall School of the Year, sponsored by the Maltings Shopping Centre in St Albans, a new category which serves to highlight the very best schools the district has to offer, those where parents, teachers and pupils alike work together to create the perfect educational environment.

The overall winner was Skyswood School in Marshalswick, which was described as a small school with a family feel, which gets the whole community involved in projects and puts on a huge number of extra curricular activities.

The runners-up were Beaumont School, praised for being an extraordinary school which has a sense of pride, purpose and community, helping it to achieve exceptional things, and St Dominic’s RC Primary, recognised for giving each child a fantastic start in life, nurturing and supporting them in a caring environment.