Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Event celebrates best of education in Thurrock

OVER 200 people packed into the Backstage Centre at High House Production Park in Purfleet on Friday (20 November) to celebrate the winners of the 2015 Thurrock Education Awards.

Guests heard from keynote speaker Ashley John Baptiste, a former X Factor star and previously a looked-after child. He told of being inspired after a trip to Cambridge University which was only possible with belief and guidance from a key worker and teacher.

The evening was hosted by Stephen Drew, Headteacher of Brentwood County High, who was featured in the hit TV show – Educating Essex.

Council Leader and portfolio holder for education, Cllr John Kent, presented the final award – Outstanding Contribution to Education – and said afterwards: “What a tremendous evening!

“With the annual Youth Con taking place last Wednesday, this week has really shown us all how important education is within Thurrock – and how much everyone involved has to be proud of.

“The awards night is a fantastic way to acknowledge the hard work, determination, passion and excellence our educators display day in day out.

“We saw short videos, filmed at over 20 different schools, throughout the evening introducing each category – my personal favourite was the child who was convinced head teachers eat crisps in their office all day!”

Cllr Kent added: “Can you believe we received over 270 nominations? A huge thank you to everybody who got involved this year – Thurrock Council staff, our partners at High House, inspiring speakers, generous sponsors, but most importantly the nominators, nominees, finalists and winners”.

Winners of the evening were:

Outstanding early years practitioner

Presented by Lyn Carpenter, Thurrock Council Chief Executive


Ian Ross, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School

Debbie Saville, Orsett Pre School

Stifford Clays reception team

Winner: Ella Pullen, Bonnygate Primary

Outstanding new teacher of the year

Sponsored and presented by ALM Training Services


Laura Duffy, William Edwards School

Maria Morris, The Hathaway Academy

Juned Uddin, Ormiston Park Academy

Winner: Sarah Hall, Corringham Primary

Aspiring leader

Sponsored and presented by Palmers Solicitors


Hayley Jessener, The Olive AP Academy

Jon Purkiss, St Clere’s Academy

Clare Marie Hewitt, Thameside Primary

Winner: Ben Holbrook, Palmers College

Creative learning and resources

Sponsored by High House Production Park and presented by Chief Executive, Andrea Stark


Harris Primary Academy Mayflower reception team

Lucy Anderson and Laura Regan, Gable Hall

Janet Leary, The Gateway Primary Free School

Winner: Carol Balmer, St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary

Education support

Sponsored and presented by P&G


Rebecca Bass, Herringham Primary Academy

Claire Smith Allen, William Edwards School

Graham Love, Treetops School

Winner: Gillian Chisnall, The Gateway Academy

Excellence in English and maths

Sponsored by The Thurrock Enquirer and presented by editor, Neil Speight


Parnian Mardanpour, Grays Convent High School

Tracey Boanas, Harris Primary Academy Chafford Hundred

Nicola Ely, Gable Hall School

Winner: Samantha Wakeling, Quarry Hill Primary Academy

Enterprise and employability

Sponsored and presented by Port of Tilbury


Frank Thompson, The Gateway Academy

Lynne Johnson, The Ockendon Academy

Duke of Edinburgh Team, Thurrock Council

Winner: Employability and Skills Team, Thurrock Council

Innovation in learning and technologies

Sponsored and presented by LG Networks


Emma Sanderson, Belmont Castle Academy

Victoria Churchman, Treetops

Winner: Emma Poysden, Thameside Primary

Governing body of the year

Presented by Cllr James Halden, Chair of Thurrock Council’s Children’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee


Thameside Primary

Horndon on the Hill Church of England Primary

Winner: Herringham Primary

Teacher of the year in primary education

Presented by Maria Shepherd – chair of Thurrock Primary Heads Association


Rachel Spink, Orsett Church of England Primary

Nella Murthen, Belmont Castle Academy

Laura Lewis, Warren Primary School

Winner: Louise Pike, Harris Primary Academy Chafford Hundred

Teacher of the year in secondary education

Sponsored and presented by HW Wilson Ltd


Huw Breese, The Gateway Academy

Stephanie McGrane, William Edwards School

Mo Coughlan, Grays Convent High School

Winner: Fuschia Burgess, The Ockendon Academy

Teacher of the year in a special school

Presented by Mayor of Thurrock, Cllr Sue Gray


Sara Peaford, Treetops School

Maxine Murray, Treetops School

Winner: Lisa Bloomfield, Beacon Hill Academy

Head teacher of the year in primary education

Presented by Thurrock Council’s Strategic lead for Education, Roger Edwardson.


Tony Parfett, Quarry Hill Academy

Lorna Hamilton, Corringham Primary School

Viki Reid, Herringham Primary Academy

Winner: Mark Jones, Belmont Castle Academy

Head teacher of the year in secondary education

Presented by Thurrock Council’s Director of Children’s Services, Carmel Littleton


Barbara King, The Ockendon Academy

Penny Johnson, Grays Convent High School

Winner: Nicola Graham, Harris Academy Chafford Hundred

Outstanding contribution to education

Presented by Thurrock Council Leader and portfolio holder for education, Cllr John Kent

Winner: Vivienne Northall


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