ECHO School Awards

The Liverpool Echo School Awards held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Andy Campbell centre,presenting the Secondary School of the year Award to Headteacher Anne Pontifex from St John Bosco Arts College.

Mersey school stars were honoured at the first ECHO School Awards – including a caring school worker who went out of her way to support a teenager seriously injured in a road accident.

St John Bosco Arts College was named Secondary School of the Year, while St Laurence's Catholic Primary School in Kirkby won Primary School of the Year at the awards, sponsored by New Directions Education.

Other winners named during the ceremony at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Liverpool city centre were Gateacre School – winners of the Active Community award – Southport College for Best School Newspaper and Halewood Academy's Year 10 drama class, who picked up the Class of the Year award.

Lilian Lanceley of University Academy Birkenhead was named Inspirational Teacher of the Year and Sue Clarke of Broughton Hall High School in West Derby was named Headteacher of the Year.

Stephanie Carter, sixth form administrator at Belvedere Academy in Toxteth, won the School Support Staff of the Year category.

She was nominated by the Brownless family, who told how their daughter Emily, a sixth form student at the Academy, suffered near-fatal injuries after being hit by a car last December.

They said Mrs Carter helped staff and pupils to produce video messages for Emily and visited her in hospital as she recovered from her injuries.

She organised fundraising for Emily, arranged visits to the hospital and organised meetings with the Child Brain Injury Trust to ensure the school was ready for Emily's return. She is now back at school part-time.

Her family wrote: "We cannot thank her enough for what she has done for us".

Caring Mrs Carter – nicknamed "Mummy Carter" by sixthformers – said: "I was gobsmacked to win. I was just doing my job and I'd do it for any of them.

"Emily's parents were obviously devastated after the accident and I just thought we needed to do something at school.

"We came up with the idea of getting the girls to do videos for her – we had staff saying messages, the girls were waving at the camera and we did a big conga through assembly."

Judges said St John Bosco Arts College – hailed as outstanding by Ofsted for a second time – was in one of Liverpool's most deprived areas but had a "tradition of turning a negative into a positive".

Headteacher Anne Pontifex said the award sealed a "fantastic year" for the school, which is moving to a new building in September.

She said: "We're just absolutely delighted. It's a delightful end to a fantastic year. It's a really exciting time for the school."

Paul Cronin, headteacher at St Laurence's Catholic Primary School, said: "It's a fantastic end to the term and we look forward to celebrating the award."

Louise Clark, regional sales manager for New Directions Education, said: "New Directions Education was delighted to be invited to sponsor the ECHO School Awards. We were inspired, delighted and overwhelmed by the quality of the nominations, and to celebrate with all of the nominees and winners on the day was fantastic.

"The teaching community is a very special place, and as such we need to recognise and reward those individuals and teams who shine. Well done to everyone involved in this event, and to those who continue to raise standards across Merseyside."

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