A GLITTERING awards evening celebrated the brightest and best stars of the education world in East Lancashire.
Inspirational pupils and teachers were honoured at the inaugural East Lancashire Newspapers Education Awards 2012, sponsored by Burnley College.
Unsung heroes shone during the ceremony at Burnley College along with schools and colleges making a difference in the area.
Pendle Vale won Secondary School of the Year while Brunshaw Primary School’s headteacher won the Inspirational Teaching Award.
But it was the star children who sparkled most on a proud night for East Lancashire.
The beaming smile of eight-year-old Ashley Wilkinson said it all as he clinched the Primary School Pupil of the Year award and won people’s hearts.
East Lancashire Newspapers group editor Chris Daggett said the awards showed the great strides made in education across the area.
He introduced the ceremony and welcomed young people and teachers to Burnley College’s auditorium and paid tribute to the superb facilities the college offered.
Mr Daggett said: “It is an amazing venue. It reflects the hopes and aspirations of many people in the room for years to come. It is great to see so many young faces. Young people are all winners in their own way.”
He added: “We are blessed in this area to have such fantastic building and teachers – and most of all fantastic, ambitious young people.”
MP Gordon Birtwistle and his wife Kathleen were joined by the Mayor and Mayoress of Burnley, Coun. Charlie Bullas and his wife Irene, in an audience filled with proud parents and teachers.
The Primary School Pupil of the Year Award set the tone for the evening with rousing applause for Ashley for his positive influence and excellent citizenship at Holly Grove School.
The youngster was also nominated for the Unsung Hero Award which was won by readers’ choice Ann Taylor, of Bowland High School, Clitheroe.
Jonathan Sibley, chief executive of Burnley Football Club Charity, presented the award for Secondary School Pupil of the Year to Isaac Rowan, of Fisher More High School. Colne. The judges said Isaac was an excellent role model who played a comprehensive role in the life of the school.
St Leonard’s Primary School, Padiham, beat off competition to be named Sustainable School of the Year.
The Moor Lane primary, which has championed the Pop up Farm and other green projects, was said by judges to exercise “diversity, engagement and covered a comprehensive range of environmental issues.”
MP Gordon Birtwistle, who presented the Inspirational Teaching Award, said: “If you want an inspirational child you have got to have an inspirational teacher to take that child along with you. It is a great pleasure to give this award for inspiring young people to work for the future of the area and deliver prosperity to the area.”
The winner of the award on the night was Neil Tranmer, headteacher at Brunshaw Primary School, described as a “true inspiration with a tremendous commitment and dedication.”
He said: “It was a very humbling experience. I am absolutely delighted to win the award but I am so well aware, after 38-plus years in the job, that I am just one of many dedicated, outstanding teachers across East Lancashire.”
Ribblesdale High School U15 Football team were winners of the Sports Achievement Award. Judges said the team had won the admiration of the whole town with their achievement, application and attitude.
The Highest Achieving Pupil Award was contested by Fisher More High School’s Cassandra Whittam and Jack Holmes, of Shuttleworth College, who was also nominated for Pupil of the Year.
Judges chose Cassandra as the winner for her consistently outstanding results and determination to succeed.
St Leonard’s CE Primary School, Langho, was named Primary School of the Year for “all-round excellence.”
Pendle Vale College was winner of the Secondary School of the Year Award for its strong community links and commitment to improving standards. Headteacher Steve Wilson said: “We have an incredible work ethic and are very much about doing what is best with young people. We believe we go the extra mile for students and community work is very much a part of what we do.”