Entries are open for the first ever Eastern Daily Press Norfolk Education Awards, celebrating outstanding achievements by the county’s education providers, staff and students.

Here we speak to the judges and sponsors of the Teacher of the Year and Teaching Assistant or Support Staff of the Year categories.


Phil King, director, Teach

Why should teachers, schools or education providers take the time to enter this award?

Everybody working within the education community works so hard, and this is a great opportunity to recognise this hard work and dedication.

The Norfolk Education Awards will shine a light on the talented staff within your school and recognise the way they go above and beyond to provide the children with much more than an education.

Did you have any teachers who would have deserved this award?

It’s very hard to say one teacher who would have deserved this award. I had some great teachers that made school a positive and engaging experience and who always went the extra mile to be supportive.

What are the qualities of a good teacher?

A good teacher has to be patient at the same time as being kind, supportive and empathetic for their students and colleagues.

They will make lasting impressions on those they teach or work alongside, while working with parents to promote collaborative learning.

Why do we need these awards?

After the last few years of much change to routines within the education sector due to Covid, we all witnessed the hard work of education professionals juggling online learning and class-based lessons.

It’s time to say thank you, to recognise those educating the next generation.

Eastern Daily Press: Vattenfall is sponsoring the Teaching Assistant or Support Staff of the Year awardVattenfall is sponsoring the Teaching Assistant or Support Staff of the Year award (Image: Vattenfall)


Denise Hone, senior stakeholder and community engagement manager, Vattenfall

Why did you decide to sponsor this award?

Teaching assistants play a crucial role in school life, and Vattenfall wanted to award them the public credit they merit.

After listening to headteachers, Vattenfall is launching a teaching assistant apprenticeship scheme in Norfolk schools this year as part of our commitment to grow skills in Norfolk and support school resources.

What are your hopes for the future of education in Norfolk?

For every young person to have the support they need to reach their goals and an education experience that provides them with the skills to have options and choices for their futures.

As an offshore wind developer, we aim to create and support diverse opportunities for all ages of young people.

Why are teaching assistants such an essential part of the classroom experience?

Teaching assistants are vital to children reaching their individual potential –headteachers say they never have enough.

From supporting the preparation of class resources to working one-to-one with children with high needs or in need of some extra help understanding parts of the curriculum, their contribution can never be underestimated.

Why is it so important to recognise support staff?

Their significant role in the academic and personal development of children can be overlooked.

Too often they are the unsung heroes of education, despite regularly going above and beyond their job descriptions in and outside school hours. One headteacher described them as the backbone of a school.

Nominations for the Eastern Daily Press Norfolk Education Awards are now open and can be made online at norfolkeduawards.co.uk until Sunday, June 11.

The finalists will be invited to the awards ceremony on Thursday, October 12 at Barnham Broom Hotel.