Thoughts of a Fruitcake: Celebrating the Education Awards - by Carolyn Aldis

Our columnist Carolyn Aldis.
Our columnist Carolyn Aldis.
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So, I was invited to attend the Education Awards last week. I don’t get to go out much; the last night out for me and my husband was our wedding anniversary in May, and that doesn’t count in my mind, so I take any opportunity to meet people and listen to their experiences.

I was really impressed with the way it was organised…everyone was well dressed, there were drinks and canapes in the bar beforehand and then we all took our seats in the large hall. Jeremy Ransome made an excellent host and various sponsors read out the winning names, in true Oscar style.

John Hayes’ speech reminded us to be proud of our achievements; with so much negative press recently coming out of Spalding, it was great to be celebrating the people of our town.

My husband and I were sitting behind a row of school children from Long Sutton Primary School who were up for a number of awards and I watched as they excitedly waited to hear the results. When another school was announced, the disappointment on their faces was quickly replaced with good natured applause for the winners, something that I marvelled at, knowing how competitive some children can be. As they were called up to the stage as runners-up, those sitting in our row had to pass us and I moved to let them through. Every one of them said “Thank-you” and smiled.

As I settled back in my seat, the next category was read out and a group from a local secondary school went up. I was surprised to find that I recognised one of them.

A few years ago, when I used to walk my young children home from school, I would see this young man displaying less than desirable behaviour. It was great to see him on stage nominated for an award, a changed young man, proof that with the right environment of supportive staff and peers surrounding them, anybody can achieve.

There were a few moving moments ... a student who had looked after her poorly sister while learning at home, managed to pass her GCSEs and won the award for Student of the Year. Unfortunately, she had a sickness bug and so her grandfather collected it for her.

Abi Schofield’s account of her time battling depression was inspiring.

An audible gasp was heard when Jeremy announced that one of the nominees for Most Inspirational Primary Teacher had passed away ... her parents went up to collect her award and I know I wasn’t the only one in tears.

The Most Inspirational Secondary School Teacher award went to my friend Liz Kelleher, Head of Art at the High School. She was surprised to win and what she said during her speech was profound:

“We are all inherently creative ... creative courses are being undermined when really, we should be encouraging creativity through the arts, not squashing it.”

It was a great evening of celebration, giving honour to those doing a job that is often difficult and exhausting but rewarding in so many ways. I know how much love, determination and grit it takes to work in schools.

John Hayes’ speech reminded us to be proud of our achievements; with so much negative press recently coming out of Spalding, it was great to be celebrating the people of our town.