EDUCATION AWARDS: Happy endings out of bad beginnings

Most Improved Student Award winner Abi Hill, formerly of Bourne Academy, with Worldwide Fruit chief executive officer Steve Maxwell.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
Most Improved Student Award winner Abi Hill, formerly of Bourne Academy, with Worldwide Fruit chief executive officer Steve Maxwell. Photo by Tim Wilson.
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Anyone looking in the average older child or teenager’s bookshelf is likely to find one of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels there.

But what is less well-known is the Gloucestershire-born author’s life hit turbulent times before her first book, Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone, was published in 1997.

Raising a young daughter on her own in Edinburgh, J.K. Rowling was dependent on Government welfare payments - a world away from her reputed £570 million worth today.

Pupils and students who show unexpected or even unthought-of progress, both personally and academically, may not go on to literary fame and fortune like J.K. Rowling.

But they could be the winners of this year’s Spalding Guardian Education Awards Most Improved Student Award, sponsored by Worldwide Fruits of Pinchbeck whose chief executive officer Steve Maxwell presented the award in 2014 to ex-Bourne Academy student Abi Hill.

Worldwide Fruit employs about 275 staff who help to supply the UK’s supermarkets with fresh fruit, including apples, pears and avocados, sourced from more than 1,000 growers in the UK, Europe, North and South America, New Zealand and South Africa.

Mr Maxwell said: “It is both encouraging and rewarding to recognise someone who may not find school easy and studying a natural thing to do.

“As a business, we are keen to employ young people and have an apprenticeship scheme running at the moment so we are delighted to be once again sponsoring the Most Improved Student category at the Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian Education Awards.

“As Abi Hill showed last year, it is learning from your mistakes or setbacks which is important, more than being naturally talented or gifted.”

Nominations are open for our second Education Awards from schools in South Holland, Bourne, the Deepings and villages south of Boston.

The criteria, award sponsors and nomination details can be found by clicking on the Education Awards section of this website.

The deadline is 5pm on Friday, October 16, and for a nomination form, call Mark Stanford on 01553 817354.