TEACHERS, students and support staff joined business leaders to celebrate the very best of education in south Wiltshire at the first Salisbury Journal Education Awards on Friday night.

The black-tie event was at Milford Hall Hotel, where Salisbury MP John Glen introduced the evening’s speaker, eminent military historian Peter Caddick-Adams.

Dr Caddick-Adams entertained guests with his fascinating and amusing take on some important lessons from history.

After dinner, Journal publisher Bill Browne and news editor Joe Riddle welcomed the sponsors onto the stage to present awards to ten worthy winners, all of whom brought something special to education in the region.

Mr Browne said: “Our aim is to recognise some of the tremendous work that goes on in our schools and colleges at all levels, from those who volunteer their services right up to those who provide the leadership.

“We hope that by highlighting all that’s good in this important part of our society we can encourage others to follow.

“This has been an amazing experience.”

The candidates were from across the region and the judges had to choose from over 70 potential winners, from 20 schools and colleges.

Secondary Teacher of the Year

TRAFALGAR School at Downton’s Debbie Ford picked up the Secondary School Teacher award.

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Parent Jenny Taylor, who nominated Debbie, said: “Ms Ford is Year 7 Transition Co-ordinator (a position that I feel may get overlooked) for the school and the work she does is remarkable and so important for children entering the next big step in their life.

“She is the children’s first point of contact should they have any concerns and problems, which when being in such a new, bigger environment — going from being big fish to little fish with so much more being asked of you, the children need to know that they have someone that is solely there for them.

“My two eldest children currently go to the school, and Ms Ford has been amazing, especially these past eight months for the youngest one as he has unfortunately been the target for some other children’s vile behaviour.

“As soon as I have contacted Debbie on each occasion she has got the matter in hand straight away and I feel so grateful knowing her door is always open to both my son and meI no matter what.

“My son, who is due to go to secondary school next, went for a visit to Trafalgar just a few weeks ago. He came home bursting with excitement saying how he couldn’t wait to go to the school and how amazing Ms Ford was.

“She made such an amazing impression on him in only an hour and a half of being there. Debbie Ford is a true asset to the school, the students and their families, we are all very lucky to have her.”

David Ferris from principal sponsor The Body Lounge said: “Education is like a relay Debbie said: “The transition from primary school to secondary school can be quite a stressful thing for children and something they worry about quite a lot. At Trafalgar we work really hard to make sure that process goes really smoothly for them. I do the worrying, they don’t do the worrying, and I look after them all the way through to the end of their first year.”

College Teacher of the Year

SALLY Tye from Salisbury Sixth Form College won the College Teacher award.

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Assistant principal Richard Davies said: “Sally is a newcomer to college teaching, although has taught in universities.

“She has gone above and beyond with her students providing additional sessions to students on a regular basis.

“Her enthusiasm and academic excellence is shown by her ability to teach three subjects – history, RS and law to a very high level.

“Sally has also taken opportunities to provide experiences that enhance her class work.

“She has taken two students to visit Auschwitz with the Holocaust Memorial Trust and is organising an event in school to share their experiences.

“Her upcoming trip to London with law students will include visits to the Old Bailey and an Inn of Court.

“She has brought in outside speakers to the college including significant academics from Oxford Brookes and Southampton University to add to the well-being of students.

“Along with all of this, she has also provided high quality pastoral care in her position as progress tutor, has completed her teacher training and written a review for an academic journal.

“Despite losing almost all of her possessions in a house fire a few months ago, she has provided her students with a consistently enthusiastic teacher who has shown enormous levels of dedication to her work.

“The future of education is certainly safe if we can continue to attract high quality staff of Sally’s quality.”

Sponsor Toby Giles of TG300 said: “This award celebrates the motivation, the dedication, the enthusiasm and the energy of a certain individual in their job. The nominees have been absolutely brilliant. We have looked at every single one and made sure we have gone through them with a fine toothcomb.

“And the individual we have chosen tonight has gone beyond the call of duty, has taken things to the next level, is loved by the pupils and the staff, and has also done this while going through a life changing experience.”

Science and Technology Award

THE Science and Technology award went to Alastair Barker of Trafalgar School at Downton.

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Mr Barker was nominated by his student Jakey Pearce, who has cerebral palsy.

Jakey said: “He has been kind and helpful to me.

“He encourages me to try my hardest and is always there for me if I’m feeling low.

“He is a very helpful teacher and he is a person who loves challenging me and the other students.

“He’s got a great passion for doing what he loves. It really does excite me when I go to one of his lessons because he makes me want to do the work.

“When I walk into one of his lessons everything is so calm and quiet and that’s what I like.

And he joked: “If I were to win the iPad I would immediately sell it because I dislike Apple products!”

Winner Mr Barker said: “That’ very kind of you, Jakey, and you are in so much trouble!

“Computing technology is such an empowering subject and I’m very lucky to teach it.

“I feel sorry for everybody who doesn’t teach it, because it gives everybody who studies it the ability to change the world.

“Jakey is a very talented coder and he’s going to be using that skill to change his world and hopefully many other people’s worlds.”

The award was sponsored by Aspire Defence. Chief executive Allan Thompson said: “We are very proud to sponsor the first Salisbury Journal Education Awards, in particular because it is the tenth anniversary of Aspire defence starting in the area in early July, which links into when the awards are being held.

“We are very proud to sponsor the the Science and Technology award which is very important to Aspire Defence as we are keen to see youngsters move into the industry whether it’s construction or technology, and come and work for us.”

Business in Schools Award

THE Business in Schools award was won by AFC Bournemouth and Sarum Academy.

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Deputy principal Andrew Milford said: “AFC Bournemouth have been working with Sarum Academy to deliver a sixth form football studies programme for the last two years.

“The academy’s link with a Premier League football club has had a transformational effect on the aspirations of many of the talented sportsman who attend the academy.

“Year 11 and sixth form pupils greatly value the opportunity to attend weekly coaching sessions with AFC Bournemouth coaches (including ex-Manchester United player Russell Beardsmore) and to represent the academy and football club in both local and national competitions.

“This last academic year has been a record-breaking season, with the highlight being a quarter-final appearance in a prestigious national schools cup competition.

“The achievement of reaching the latter stages of a national competition, which are usually the preserve of elite public schools, was an experience that the boys will never forget, and has brought an enormous sense of pride to the academy.

PE teacher Rebecca Thompson collected the award on behalf of the school and the club.

She said: “The link with AFC Bournemouth has been very positive for all our pupils.

“Obviously it’s a very prestigious thing to have a Premiership football club associated with your school and our pupils have very much appreciated having the coaches coming in and giving that support.

“The competitions they have taken part in have taken them to a higher level of performance than they would have done before, so it has been a great experience for all of us really.”

The award was sponsored by Moore Stephens. Andrew Williams from the firm said: “The winner really stands out in this process as an organisation that’s providing support to a local school when it really doesn’t need to do so and it’s doing it in a way that’s providing innovation and skills to the school.”

Supporting Staff Member Award

THE award for supporting staff member of the year went to Maxine Handley-Wells of Amesbury Primary School.

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Head teacher Yvonne Morrison said: “Maxine, who is employed as a pastoral manager, provides a structured, nurturing approach to education for children with severe social, emotional and behavioural problems.

“She was instrumental in helping the school set up our Nurture Centre.

“With a tight budget and ‘make-do’ accommodation and resources, Maxine dedicated herself to setting up, training staff and working hard to demonstrate that nurture works for these children.

“With almost 100 children over the past six years having access to this resource, many of them at risk of permanent exclusion or already permanently excluded, Maxine has made a huge difference to their lives with the centre being recognised for its fabulous work by Wiltshire Education Department and many other professionals.

“Many of the children have been failing at school because they are not stable enough to be in a mainstream classroom at first. Maxine takes them in initially on a part-time basis and works alongside the family to make it work.

“Once settled into a structured routine their time within school is gradually increased.

“She gives them self-belief, raises their self-esteem and gains their trust.

“Maxine will then work with class teachers and teaching assistants in ensuring a smooth transition for these children back into their mainstream classroom.

“This is done gradually and usually starting with their strongest subject.

“The outcomes have been amazing with almost all of the children moving back into their classes full-time.

The award was sponsored by Singfinity.

Steve Giles said: “We love this award because it celebrates those who are often overlooked, but conversely are truly the backbone of many schools.

“Often the last men and/or women standing, this award is going to the person who had to deliver in the most challenging of situations.”

Primary School Teacher Award

CHARLI Pamment from Amesbury CE Primary School picked up the Primary Teacher award. She was nominated by two parents.

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William Everitt said: “Miss Pamment is an amazing teacher, with a passion for teaching and an ability to capture the imagination of all the young children in her care. She manages to make every topic interesting for her reception class and her tireless enthusiasm is inspirational and infectious. In her gentle and nurturing care, my daughter has made great progress and blossomed.

“Miss Pamment deserves to be recognised for her dedication to teaching and all of the children who are lucky enough to be in her class.”

Parent Sam Watts said: “My daughter started in her reception class last September. From the outset I was amazed at her passion and enthusiasm for the children. When she talks to a child her face lights up and she gives them her undivided attention which in a class of 30 must be hard. She is always building different areas in her classroom, I think we have had a stage, a shop and I am sure many other things too. She is so approachable to the parents.

“Our daughter is our one and only child and we don’t know if we are doing the right things but Miss Pamment has spent time with us giving us ideas to help support what our daughter is learning at school.

“Quite often she will come out in the morning to grab you as she has thought about something else overnight. She is always open to feedback from the parents too. I said I would like to know more about what reception are doing each day as we barely get any information from the children.

“She really took this on board and came up with a reception blog with what they have done that day and photos. “I shall be sad when our daughter goes in to year 1 as Miss Pamment has been an absolute star, always going the extra mile.”

Accepting the award. Miss Pamment said: “The children who are so tiny, their whole experience of education from now until forever is formed so early. They learn success, they learn failure so young, and it’s really important to have the right people there for them.”

Clive Gregory from sponsor Woolley and Wallis said: “As a former teacher myself, I have great admiration for all teachers . If you can inspire a child at that age in the early foundation years, then that child will have a real desire to learn in later life.”

Voluntary Award

THE Voluntary award went to Hilda Waller of Amesbury Primary School.

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Deputy head teacher Liz Cook nominated Hilda.

She said: “Hilda started volunteering at the school when she was 60 years young. “Her husband had died and she found herself moping about and decided that she needed to get herself a focus.

“She came into her local primary school and asked if she could do some volunteering.

“Twenty-seven years later, Hilda has become part of the furniture.

“She gives up two half days per week and never lets us down.

“Hilda is an amazing inspiration to us all.

“She has a wonderful sense of humour; always has good things to say; and never ever complains about anything.

“Her commitment to education really does need to be recognised as without the commitment of people like her we couldn’t do what we do in school.

“She is very much loved by all of the children and staff. In addition to this she swims two miles a week and takes part in a weekly art class.”

The award was sponsored by Radiquip, who also provided the staging a and lighting for the awards ceremony.

Jennifer Lawrence from Radiquip said: “We have chosen to sponsor the voluntary award because, as an ex-teacher I know how important it is to have people who support you voluntarily.

“Money is always tight in schools and to have people give up their time willingly and for free really does make a difference to the children. The standard of awards this year was just fantastic. It’s so difficult to decide the winner.”

And she added: “Having met the winner, I’m so pleased we chose her. She’s just the most amazing person and I’m really, really pleased she’s won.”

Community Award

ELIZABETH Bunting of St Andrews Primary School in Laverstock won the community award.

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She was nominated by head teacher Karen Walker, who said: “Mrs Bunting is a very valued member of the school community as well as the village community.

“There won’t be anyone in Laverstock that doesn’t know her. She has worked tirelessly for the last 30-plus years in our school (and the Church), firstly as a teaching assistant, but since retiring she still comes in weekly.

“She supports the school in all of its community events and is also a member of our governing body.

“In this role she ensures that the quality of our religious education and collective worship remains high, as well as creating and sustaining the strong links we have with St Andrew’s church.

“She has been a pioneer of a Sunday worship group here at school and more recently developed her ever growing and popular community tea at church on a Tuesday after school, where she has between 50 and 70 parents who attend regularly.

“The now established links within the community are now very strong and she has been the reason for this.

“She gives up her time endlessly for the good of our school and the community and we all love her very much (the children would say this too!).

“I also have to say that she has kept supporting me as a head in the 28 years that I have been at the school.

“Nothing is too much trouble for her and the Laverstock community are lucky to have her in their midst.”

Collecting the award, Mrs Bunting said: “I just love the children, and I have to say Karen Walker has been one of the most supportive heads ever to work for. She’s been so supportive and has supported me ever since I was a little teaching assistant.”

Rena Wiethaupt from sponsor New Hall Hospital, who unfortunately could not be at the ceremony, said: “Education is important to us and the community is important to us at New Hall Hospital, and that’s why we decided to sponsor the community involvement award.

“The winner we have chosen has been doing great work for over 30 years within the community, within the school, and within the church and she has organised events within the village. Everybody knows her and she’s a well-deserved winner.”

Innovation Award

THE award for innovation went to Trafalgar School at Downton’s Transporting Children to a better Education scheme.

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Parent Carol Waters nominated the scheme. She said: “The last year of primary brings a fresh set of challenges because parents need to start choosing their preferred secondary school as soon as your child enters Year 6.

“Most pupils do not qualify for free home-to-school transport, therefore this restricts the freedom of choice that is so key to parents and children alike. Getting to school using school-provided transport reduces the wider detrimental effects on the environment and where available can enable children to attend a school that previously might have been considered out of reach.

“With more cars on the road than ever and locally we are becoming more and more reliant on alternative transport options. The more that families rely on cars to get to work and to take their children to school, the more we are damaging our local Salisbury environment.

“As parents we recognise the pressures of daily life and the Trafalgar School shuttle buses give parents the opportunity to access the school’s highly efficient fleet which collect children from a wide catchment area. Last year the bus services safely transported nearly 100 students to and from school each day. Due to a growth in demand from parents attending the school in September 2016, a further 70 students will be joining the buses each day. Almost all the places have been reserved by parents who find the reliability and efficiency of the service a great help when juggling school runs and full-time work. The school currently operates shuttle bus services from areas as wide as Wilton, Pitton, Salisbury City, Bishopdown, Old Sarum, from Fordingbridge and Alderholt.

“The buses are a familiar sight in the Salisbury area and are clearly greatly valued by the parents and students.”

Wiltshire College assistant principal Mark Cooper said: “It’s important for young people that innovation is at the core of everything they receive because it allows people to take risks and provide new opportunities for youngsters to succeed in life.

“The winners of this award have very innovatively thought about the ways they can engage learners at their school, helping at the same time the environment and allowing students to access opportunities they might not otherwise have been able to access.”

Leadership Award

THE leadership award was scooped by Gordon Aitken, principal of South Wiltshire University Technical College (UTC).

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City councillor Matthew Dean nominated Mr Aitken.

“Gordon has worked tirelessly to bring a new type of school, a University Technical College to South Wiltshire,” he said.

“I am delighted that due to his professionalism, dedication, optimism, impressive contacts and sheer indefatigably, we now have this brilliant facility for South Wiltshire up and running, based in Salisbury.

“This has involved Gordon demonstrating huge drive and leadership over a protracted period of time to develop his dream of a new school into a reality that will directly benefit 600 of our young people at any one time.

“In 2012/13 Gordon led a public and private sector partnership applying for Central Government funding to set up a University Technical College (UTC) in Wiltshire.

As a result of his efforts, the funding application was successful. Gordon secured a site in the soon to be redundant police station and he obtained all party support for the project and the wider community across the City of Salisbury. In themselves these were remarkable feats of leadership but were only the prerequisite needed to enable the project to get off the ground.

He went on to broker and support a unique partnership between the Army, the University of Southampton, Wiltshire College, Wiltshire Council and around a dozen leading Science and Engineering organisations to set up this new University Technical College.

He then worked full-time for a period of approximately 18 months as project manager for the UTC during its pre-opening phase to ensure the building was converted to a high standard to become the amazing educational facility that it is today. The project capital build and set up had a value of over £8million alone.

In February 2014, Gordon was appointed Principal of the new University Technical College. He began the process of recruiting an outstanding group of academic lecturers and teachers.