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Islington Education Awards celebrate ‘depth of talent’ working in the borough

PUBLISHED: 14:55 11 February 2020 | UPDATED: 18:17 11 February 2020

Islington Education Awards 2020, Image 008 -  Headteacher of the Year Jenny Lewis with Kalpesh Savjani for Transform Islington Schools Ltd. Picture: James Robertshaw

Islington Education Awards 2020, Image 008 - Headteacher of the Year Jenny Lewis with Kalpesh Savjani for Transform Islington Schools Ltd. Picture: James Robertshaw

James Robertshaw

Forget the Oscars – hard working teachers and support staff stole the show as they scooped gongs at the at the glitzy Islington Education Awards ceremony on February 10.

Islington Education Awards 2020, Winner of Premises Staff of the Year Anthony Brotin with Leader of the Islington Council Richard Watts plus Rosie Kurnaz and Kacper Strek from Islington�s Youth Council. Picture:
James RobertshawIslington Education Awards 2020, Winner of Premises Staff of the Year Anthony Brotin with Leader of the Islington Council Richard Watts plus Rosie Kurnaz and Kacper Strek from Islington�s Youth Council. Picture: James Robertshaw

The annual shindig was held at LSO St Luke's in Old Street, where the outstanding achievements of the borough's teaching and support staff were recognised across 13 categories. There were three nominees in each category and all were put forward by their peers.

Winners included Thornhill Primary School's Jenny Lewis (headteacher of the Year), Louise Norman from the Courtyard (special school educator of the year) and Kamal Kuti, of St Mark's CofE Primary School, who won the Product of Islington Award for his work with students' families. Speaking after the event, Ms Lewis said: "I feel really overwhelmed and to have had so many amazing headteachers that I've worked with, it really is a privilege to have been identified as headteacher of the year. It's a lovely event that brings so many sectors of education together and it's great to be celebrating with each other tonight."

Presenters, included actors Christopher Eccleston and Dame Sian Phillips, joined the likes of Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn and council leader Richard Watts in honouring the borough's hard working staff.

Mr Corbyn added: "Education is a team effort and everyone who works in a school is part of that team. Tonight we're honouring teachers and teaching assistants for their fantastic contribution to our community, our borough and our wonderful young people. I'm very proud to have been invited to present one of the awards."

Islington Education Awards 2020.  Louise Norman, winner Special School Educator of the Year with Dame Sian Phillips. Picture: James RobertshawIslington Education Awards 2020. Louise Norman, winner Special School Educator of the Year with Dame Sian Phillips. Picture: James Robertshaw

Jo Dibbs, executive headteacher of Islington Futures Federation of Community Schools, was presented with outstanding special achievement award. She said: "I've been to a lot of awards ceremonies but none like this. I feel really honoured to be here tonight, it's joyful.

At a time when we're experiencing so much negativity globally to see this tiny, vibrant borough being celebrated, and see people celebrating each other and having a common goal - our future - it's wonderful. I don't want to leave."

Cllr Watts added: "It's an absolute honour to be here and see the incredible depth of talent we have in Islington schools, which are so important for making the borough a better place. It's fantastic to have an evening like this to acknowledge the stars [of teaching] but as we all know, all teachers are stars."

The event was sponsored by Reed Talent Solutions, City, University of London, Morgan Sindall Construction, London Metropolitan University, Transform Islington Ltd and The Key. Maggie Elliott, chair of Islington Community of Schools said: "The Islington Community of Schools (ICoS) is thrilled to be hosting the second annual Islington Education Awards, where we are able to celebrate the ambition, innovation and excellence of those working with children and young people in the borough. Islington education is a fantastic place to work and these awards allow us to showcase the very best practice among our education professionals."

Islington Education Awards 2020. Classroom Assistant of the Year Bernie Kelly with poet John Hegley. Picture: James RobertshawIslington Education Awards 2020. Classroom Assistant of the Year Bernie Kelly with poet John Hegley. Picture: James Robertshaw

Islington's education chief Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz said: "These awards are a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the many roles within Islington's educational settings.

We are passionate about supporting children to have the best start in life, and these are the people who are making it happen for them. They inspire young minds, fire imaginations and equip our young people with the skills they need to have a fulfilling future. It's an honour to be able to share our gratitude through these awards."

Each of the 13 categories has 3 nominees who have been put forward by their peers. Winners were decided by our judging panel which included Dr Kate Chhatwal OBE, CEO of Challenge Partners, Caroline Doherty, Head of External Relations at The Key and James Kidgell, Senior Project Manager, Morgan Sindall Construction.

These awards were founded to recognise achievements and promote pride in Islington's schools. Kelly Cooper from London Metropolitan University said: "It's been an absolute delight to be involved in these awards and see the work of such amazing teachers being recognised."

Islington Education Awards 2020. Picture: Jeremy Corbyn (left) and Jo Dibbs (centre). Picture: James RobertshawIslington Education Awards 2020. Picture: Jeremy Corbyn (left) and Jo Dibbs (centre). Picture: James Robertshaw

Speaking on behalf of another sponsor, Morgan Sindall, judging panellist James Kidgell said: "Watching the faces of the winners, it's clear it means a lot to them. I'm proud to have been involved in the event and the judging and I hope I can come back next year."

Full list of winners:

Administrator of the Year:

Islington Education Awards 2020.  Jeremy Corbyn with winner Classroom Support of the Year - Secondary Alex Suksiri. Picture: James RobertshawIslington Education Awards 2020. Jeremy Corbyn with winner Classroom Support of the Year - Secondary Alex Suksiri. Picture: James Robertshaw

Lesley Chatten, Rotherfield Primary School

Bright Start Early Years Educator of the Year:

Grace Harding, Packington Children's Centre

Classroom Support of the Year - Primary:

Bernie Kelly, Sacred Heart RC Primary School

Classroom Support of the Year - Secondary:

Alex Suksiri,The Bridge Integrated Learning Space

Governing Board of the Year, in association with The Key:

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Islington Futures Federation of Community Schools, chair: Jill McLaughlin

Green Award, in association with Morgan Sindall Construction:

Prior Weston Primary School and Children's Centre, headteacher: Fiona MacCorquodale

Headteacher of the Year, in association with Transform Islington

Schools Ltd:

Jenny Lewis, Thornhill Primary School

Premises Staff of the Year:

Anthony Brotin, New River Green Children's Centre

Product of Islington, in association with City, University of London:

Jamal Kuti, St Mark's CoE Primary School

Senior Leader of the Year, in association with REED:

Charlie Baverstock, Hargrave Park Primary School

Special School Educator of the Year:

Louise Norman, St Mary Magdalene Academy - The Courtyard

Teacher of the Year - Primary:

Alex Charlton, Pooles Park Primary School

Teacher of the Year - Secondary in association with London Metropolitan University:

Kelli Torresan, City of London Academy Highbury Grove

Outstanding Achievement Award 2020:

Jo Dibb, executive headteacher, Islington Futures Federation of Community Schools


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