Education awards

2015 award winners

The 2015 awards were presented in 15 categories.

Outstanding new teacher of the year

Sponsored by ALM Training Services
This award will recognise a newly qualified teacher who has shown enthusiasm and drive in their first year of teaching.

Winner: Sarah Hall, Corringham Primary. Sarah Hall is the teacher every child would want. Although Sarah is new to the profession her level of commitment to every child in her class is amazing. Sarah has made sure learning is fun and every child has grown in confidence, resilience and wants to learn.


  • Laura Duffy, William Edwards School
  • Maria Morris, The Hathaway Academy
  • Juned Uddin, Ormiston Park Academy

Outstanding early years practitioner

A practitioner who demonstrates passionate and enthusiastic commitment to early years, and whose efforts have significantly benefited the children in their care.

Winner: Ella Pullen, Bonnygate Primary. Ella is inspiring to other staff, not only in the Early Years but across the school as she shows determination in improving her own practise in order for her children to get the best possible experiences and outcomes. She provides a welcoming, engaging learning environment and creates a wonderful climate for learning.


  • Ian Ross, St Joseph's Catholic Primary School
  • Debbie Saville, Orsett Pre-school
  • Stifford Clays reception team

Aspiring leader

Sponsored by Palmers Solicitors
An individual who has shown commitment and drive to lead - a future education leader

Winner: Ben Holbrook, Palmers College. Ben is an inspirational teacher and leader, with incredible enthusiasm for his subject, and the drive to improve and inspire students and colleagues. It has been said of Ben that if you could bottle 'it' and sell 'it' you'd make a fortune'!


  • Hayley Jessener, The Olive AP Academy
  • Jon Purkiss, St Clere's Academy
  • Clare Marie Hewitt, Thameside Primary

Creative learning and resources

Sponsored by High House Production Park
An individual or team that has developed a vibrant and progressive culture, and a climate of encouraging and supporting creativity in teaching and learning.

Winner: Carol Balmer, St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary. Carol is a dedicated teacher who tirelessly 'champions' the importance of the Arts, and the children's creative potential throughout our whole school. Her enthusiasm is infectious and as a result many children have realised their love for art and grown in confidence.


  • Harris Primary Academy Mayflower reception team
  • Lucy Anderson and Laura Regan, Gable Hall
  • Janet Leary, The Gateway Primary Free School

Education support

Sponsored by P&G
An individual that supports children, young people, staff and the life of their education establishment and the wider community – they may be a classroom or learning assistant, youth worker, administrator or have another support role.

Winner: Gillian Chisnall, The Gateway Academy. Gillian is 'real' character whose commitment to our young people is simply an inspiration. Known as 'super granny, her whacky and extrovert practice is a welcome addition. She has a passion for education with exceptionally high standards of what the young people in her care should achieve.


  • Rebecca Bass, Herringham Primary Academy
  • Claire Smith Allen, William Edwards School
  • Graham Love, Treetops School

Excellence in English and maths

Sponsored by The Thurrock Enquirer
An individual or team that brings an innovative approach to English and maths, sharing the understanding of their approach and involving children, parents and carers.

Winner: Samantha Wakeling, Quarry Hill Primary Academy. Sam's expertise has not only impacted on her own school but her work in other schools has also impacted on a number of teachers and young people throughout the authority.


  • Parnian Mardanpour, Grays Convent High School
  • Tracey Boanas, Harris Primary Academy Chafford Hundred
  • Nicola Ely, Gable Hall School

Enterprise and employability

Sponsored by Port of Tilbury
An individual or team that has developed enterprise and employability across the curriculum, and brings it to life by engaging with local business.

Winner: Employability and Skills Team, Thurrock Council. The Employability and Skills Team have successfully supported in partnership Thurrock's Next Top Boss - the project has worked with over a 1,000 young people and provides opportunities for business and education to work in partnership to promote the regeneration opportunities that are available in Thurrock.


  • Frank Thompson, The Gateway Academy
  • Lynne Johnson, The Ockendon Academy
  • Duke of Edinburgh Team, Thurrock Council

Innovation in learning technologies

Sponsored by LG Networks
An individual or team that is innovative in using technology, and gets the most from information and communication technology to support effective teaching and learning.

Winner: Emma Poysden, Thameside Primary. Emma is a creative, forward thinking teacher who has an IT competence to be envious of. Her creativity and innovation have had a demonstrable impact on the children in school.


  • Emma Sanderson, Belmont Castle Academy
  • Victoria Churchman, Treetops

Governing body

A team of volunteer governors that has helped to drive up education standards at their school.

Winner: Herringham Primary. They are a knowledgeable, skilled team, with initiative and creativity. They work strategically to exploit their skills and strengths and work flexibly to support the school.


  • Thameside Primary
  • Horndon on the Hill Church of England Primary

Teacher of the year in primary education

A teacher in primary education who has continually gone above the day-to-day requirements of their role to benefit their students.

Winner: Louise Pike, Harris Primary Academy Chafford Hundred. Louise's lessons are never less than outstanding. She has made a dramatic impact on the success of her subject areas and supports her colleagues whilst working tirelessly to increase attainment and has enthusiasm and passion.


  • Rachel Spink, Orsett Church of England Primary
  • Nella Murthen, Belmont Castle Academy
  • Laura Lewis, Warren Primary School

Teacher of the year in secondary education

Sponsored by HW Wilson limited
A teacher in secondary education who has continually gone above the day-to-day requirements of their role to benefit their students.

Winner: Fushia Burgess, The Ockendon Academy. Fuchsia is an outstanding example to all of her students and her colleagues as she works within the school with such enthusiasm and passion. She is unassuming and very modest and doesn't realize what a huge impact she has on the extra-curricular offer of the school.


  • Huw Breese, The Gateway Academy
  • Stephanie McGrane, William Edwards School
  • Mo Coughlan, Grays Convent High School

Teacher of the year in a special school

A teacher in a special school who has continually gone above the day-to-day requirements of their role to benefit their students.

Winner: Lisa Bloomfield, Beacon Hill Academy. She brings innovative and exciting ideas, and is all about the children, everything she does is to help the children reach their full potential in a fun and engaging way!! She makes learning fun for all and celebrates the success of each individual. She has great relationships with the parents and strives to support and help them in any way she can. She goes above and beyond what any other teacher would to ensure each family is well supported at home and in school.


  • Sara Peaford, Treetops School
  • Maxine Murray, Treetops School

Head teacher of the year in primary education

A head teacher in primary education, including special schools, who has continually gone above the day-to-day requirements of their role to benefit their students.

Winner: Mark Jones, Belmont Castle Academy. Mark works tirelessly for the benefit of the pupils at Belmont Castle Academy but equally provides an environment where staff actually feel valued and appreciated. He is an inspiration to all he meets.


  • Tony Parfett, Quarry Hill Academy
  • Lorna Hamilton, Corringham Primary School
  • Viki Reid, Herringham Primary Academy

Head teacher of the year in secondary education

A head teacher in secondary education, including special schools, who has continually gone above the day-to-day requirements of their role to benefit their students.

Winner: Nicola Graham, Harris Academy Chafford Hundred. Nicola has a management style that appreciates encourages and motivates staff at all levels and ensures that children from disadvantaged backgrounds do not have lower levels of achievement. This was recognised by central government when she received an award for closing the gap with pupil premium.


  • Barbara King, The Ockendon Academy
  • Penny Johnson, Grays Convent High School

Outstanding contribution to education

An individual who has shown exceptional commitment in the field of education. The winner for this award will be chosen by a panel of judges rather than by public nomination.

Winner: Vivienne Northall. Viv has served the community in which she has worked in for over 20 years. In that time, the school grew from 60 pupils in 1992 to over 800 pupils in 2015. Through this growth the Headteacher never took her eye off the ball and achieved high standards in their own school and through their influence in the wider community never wavered in their commitment to the families and the community in which they served. The Schools in Thurrock have benefitted from Viv's love of poetry and their commitment to organising an annual poetry competition - which is part of their legacy in the borough.