JUNIOR GAZETTE: Schools shine at glittering awards
The Education Awards took place in the beautiful Blackpool Tower Ballroom.
The crystal chandeliers glittered overhead, as 20 dancers from Blackpool and the Fylde College rushed into position. Dressed in colours of blue, black, grey and white, the well-known song: Can’t Stop The Feeling by Justin Timberlake blared out of the speakers.
After the amazing dance, the giving of the awards began. First, the principal of Blackpool and The Fylde College gave an educating speech. Then, the inspirational teaching award was presented by Nick Jones. There were eight finalists, too many to name, but we can name the winner and that is Stuart Johnson, Park Community Academy.
After this, John Child and the Blackpool Sandcastle monkey mascot came and presented the Primary School Pupil of the Year Award, and out of three finalists, the winner was Charlie Jordan, St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School, despite a brain tumour, has raised impressive amounts of money for charity but couldn’t attend the awards because, Make A Wish had taken him to Alton Towers, but his young cousin, who came dressed for the occasion in a black bow tie, collected the award.
Next, Jill Gray, Principal of Blackpool Sixth Form came to the stage and told us all about the Sixth Form and mentioned their new single “Christmas Miracle” before she presented the Secondary School Pupil of the Year Award. It must have been close with some very strong nominees but the winner was Aliyah Rayner from Cardinal Allen Catholic School.
The fourth award was for the Sustainable School with three nominations, St Aidans, Cardinal Allen and Park Community Academy with Cardinal Allen named as winners.
The following award was presented by BAE Systems and was the Young Scientist/Engineer Award.
The three students were sat there, stomachs churning, but the moment came and Harvey Barry-Hudson from St Aidans CE High School was delighted to learn that the title was his for a year. Everybody then had another surprise as the twenty dancers returned, this time dressed all in black. They were all fast and some had expressions of determination written on their faces as they performed their routine.
The Creative Arts and Digital Industries Award was given after the dance break and out of seven candidates Leoni-Jane Kennedy, Millfield Science and Performing Arts College, who excels in music and art and design, was announced the winner.
The School Trips Award saw the same three schools who had been shortlisted for Sustainable School, St Aidan’s, Cardinal Allen and Park Community Academy, but the winner was not the same as Park Community Academy won their second award of the night.
The Sports Achievement Award had a final of five talented students, including: a 9-year-old girl who has beaten other twice her age in taekwondo and a year 10 student who was offered a place in Wigan Warriors rugby team.
With all these amazing performances, the badminton team of Hodgson Academy won this race.
The Career Aspiration Award was the fifth award with three in the final, and Saint Aidan’s had their first victory as a whole school. Blackpool and the Fylde College sponsored this award again, and what an honour to sponsor these amazing awards.
The Unsung Hero Award is one of the best, recognising those who do so much behind the scenes, but never get much attention and praise. It brings their achievements to light, and shows how much they do that everybody takes for granted. There had to be a winner, and that winner was Mandy Palmer, St Thomas CE Primary School, who has retired but still works hard for her school.
Next was the head teacher of the Year Award, one of the main three awards. The winner was Sharon Barnett, The Willows Catholic Primary School. Sharon was obviously well-loved in her school family.
There was a huge standing ovation by delighted students, parents and staff, which made you realise how much of a difference she made on multiple lives.
Another main award is Primary School of the Year Award had five different finalists, one of whom came close on the Secondary School Award as well.
In the end the winner was announced - St Nicholas CE Primary School. The roar of approval was immense!
The final award was Secondary School of the Year Award. Out of five finalists, the winner was a tricky decision, but in the end, Hodgson Academy was declared the winner of The Secondary School of the Year Award.
After this award, an orange star was hidden under one of the chairs in the audience, and after a large search, a young boy ran to the stage in delight.
After a large celebratory photo of all the winners and runners up, we caught up with the Head teacher of Hodgson Academy, Derek Yarwood for an interview:
How do you feel about winning Secondary School of the Year Award?
“I am really proud, it shows that all of our hard work has really paid off. It’s very exciting and also is such an achievement, I only became head teacher back in September, but I have worked at the school for 32 years, which shows great loyalty to the school.
What motivated you to win Secondary School of the Year Award?
“Well, one thing was the competitiveness of the other schools, but the staff want the best as well. We do want to get the grades, but it is a lot better to be the best you can be.”
How will you come back next year?
“All the schools are getting better and everyone is improving.”
Next year, the awards might be even better, but it’s a very hard barrier to top.
Well done to the schools.