Friday, March 28, 2014
10:07 AM

The Raising the Bar awards last night anointed 14 education champions in Suffolk.

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In a ceremony at Wherstead Park compered by the East Anglian Daily Times’ and Ipswich Star editor Terry Hunt and BBC Radio Suffolk presenter Mark Murphy, what had been over 800 nominations was whittled down to just a few winners.

Among those who picked up the top prizes was Howard Lay of Samuel Ward Academy, in the category of Educational Leader of the Year.

Howard was chosen for his visionary and long standing leadership of high achieving schools.

In the category of Teaching Excellence the winner was Siobhan Eastwood of St John’s Primary School in Ipswich. Siobhan was chosen for her exceptional work creating fun and inspiring mathematics lessons.

However all of those who had been nominated were commended for their passion for and commitment to the education of young people in Suffolk.

The awards form part of Suffolk County Council’s drive to improve educational standards in the county. By identifying and highlighting best practice the organisers aim to spread a culture of excellence and aspiration in the county.

The response to the awards was enormous, with nominations received from every corner of the county and every category spoilt for choice in selecting a winner.

Among the more colourful nominations was Heathcliff the reading dog. The pet Shih Tzu is owned by the head teacher at Nacton Primary School in Ipswich and patiently listens to pupils at the school reading. The fact that Heathcliff only listens without critiquing helps to build the confidence and fluency of pupils.

Another nominee was David Kightley, who has become an institution at Rushmere Hall Primary School and is beloved there for his 42 years of service as a teacher, deputy head and governor.

During this time he set up a bird club, giving the children from an Ipswich housing estate a unique opportunity to learn about wildlife. He was nominated in the Governor of the Year category.

A list of the winners on the night is provided below.

Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education, skills and young people, said: “I’d like to congratulate the winners on their awards and, more importantly, their fantastic work to improve young people’s educational attainment and aspiration in Suffolk.

“They deserve every bit of credit for their work and I hope that by celebrating their success, we will raise awareness of the impact of these achievements and see best practice adopted more widely.

“The volume and quality of nominations we received was truly inspirational and certainly made the judging process a challenging one.

“All of this year’s finalists demonstrated the wealth of excellent work and best practice that is taking place in Suffolk right now. These individuals and groups have all made a significant contribution to delivering high quality education in our county, are raising standards and aspiration and should receive recognition for it.”

List of winners:

Innovation in Education and Skills – Who Asks Us

Teaching Excellence – Siobhan Eastwood of St John’s Primary School

Educational Leader of the Year – Howard Lay of Samuel Ward Academy

Visionary Management – Cathy Laird of Farlingaye High School

Governor, Trustee or Non-Executive of the Year – Kit Wells of Federation of Gislingham & Palgrave Schools

Partnership in Education – Suffolk Agricultural Association

Young Person of the Year:

Up to Year 6 – Tyler Williams of Houldsworth Primary School

Years 7-11 – Isabel Tilbury-Larter of Stradbroke High School

16 and over award – Joanne Davey of Suffolk New College

Support Staff of the Year – Lianne Selwood of Occold Primary School

Business Partner of the Year – AKD Engineering

Volunteer of the Year – Sonia Chopra of Gislingham Primary School

Significant Contribution to Education in Suffolk – Roger Fern of Halifax Primary School

Excellence in Achievement – Farlingaye High School

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