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Monday, 29 October, 2001, 07:57 GMT
Teachers who make a difference
John King - winner of primary school teacher of the year
Primary Teacher of the Year John King with pupils
A secondary head teacher has won a lifetime achievement award for his work in turning a failing school into a thriving, over-subscribed technology college.

Barry Cooke, head of Hyde Technology School in Tameside, Greater Manchester, for 20 years, picked up the honour at the Teaching Awards ceremony - the Platos - at London's Theatre Royal on Sunday night.

Mr Cooke, 59, said: "Teaching has given me 37 years of happiness.

"It's a wonderful profession, where teachers have the opportunity to influence young people's lives, to raise self-esteem, to promote tolerance, and to ensure that students achieve their true potential.

"Anyone contemplating a new career, consider the teaching profession. Good teachers can and do make a difference to people's lives and all our futures."

Click here for details of the winners

Mr Cooke's school serves a deprived area with a high Bangladeshi population. He regularly makes home visits, rings parents to praise their children's achievement and knows the name of every pupil and their brothers and sisters.

Mr Cooke has done more for our community than any other person I know

School governor
One of the school governors said: "The Bangladeshi community is very lucky to have a head teacher who has patience and is prepared to listen to all sides of a story before he makes a decision."

"The community trusts him - they know he will not tolerate any racism, no matter where it comes from.

"He has done more for our community than any other person I know."

Star ceremony

The awards ceremony was hosted by television celebrity Carol Smillie and among the stars presenting the awards were Michael Parkinson, Joanna Lumley and Sol Campbell.

Sue Hyland with pupils
Sue Hyland picked up an award for leadership
Each winner in the 10 categories took prizes worth 25,000 back to their school - a grant of 15,000 and computer equipment worth 10,000.

The awards, now in their third year, were designed to celebrate and publicly acknowledge the work of outstanding teachers in schools across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

They are sponsored by BT and The Guardian.

Chair of the Teaching Awards Trust, Lord Puttnam, said they were an opportunity to "recognise the outstanding communicators within the teaching profession" and to celebrate the "vital role" they played in communities across the country.

Working with parents

Also getting an award was secondary school teacher Barbara Robinson for her efforts in encouraging parents to get involved in the work of her school.

Ms Robinson, from Blakeston Community School in Stockton-on-Tees, Cleveland, has inspired dozens of parents - many of whom had had unrewarding experiences of school - to sign up on her course to become teacher assistants.

"Not only has she enriched the lives of so many children and their parents, she has given them the gift of going on to enrich the lives of others too," said one of the judges.

Barbara Blaney from Chalvedon School and Sixth Form College in Basildon, Essex, picked up the Award for Excellence in Special Needs Training.

She was especially praised for her work with the traveller community.

Her head teacher said she was a "truly exceptional" teacher who had chosen to devote her career to the education of children with special needs, and to traveller children, in a socially and economically deprived area.

"With her ability, energy and commitment she could undoubtedly have her choice of schools, and we are indeed fortunate that she has chosen to work with us," the head said.

Mrs Blaney told the audience at the awards ceremony: "I would like to think that this award acknowledges all teachers of special needs and all teachers of travellers, and celebrates how important it is to have inclusion in schools."

The awards ceremony will be shown on BBC One on Sunday 4 November.

Anyone wanting to nominate a teacher for the 2002 Teaching Awards can do so online at

 Award  Winner
The BT Award for Teacher of the Year Primary: John King
Greswold Primary School,
Secondary:David Bennett
Babington Community Technology College,
Beaumont Leys, Leicester
The Leadership Trust Award for School Leadership Primary: Rose Marie Pugh
Crowle Primary School,
Crowle, North Lincolnshire
Secondary: Sue Hyland
Houghton Kepier School,
The Award for Learning
Support Assistant of the Year
Josephine Adlard Pugh
St Martins CofE Infants School,
The Award for Excellence
in Special Needs Teaching
Barbara Blaney
Chalvedon School & Sixth Form College,
Basildon, Essex
The Award for Most Creative
Use of ICT
Keith Phipps
King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys,
The Guardian Award for
Outstanding New Teacher
Ingrid Spencer
Longslade Community School,
Birstall, Leicester
The Lloyds TSB Award for
Working with Parents and
the Community
Barbara Robinson
Blakeston Community School,
The Award for Lifetime
Barry Cooke
Hyde Technology School,
Hyde, Tameside

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Driving force
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See also:

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29 Oct 00 | Education
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18 Feb 00 | Education
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17 Dec 99 | Education
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14 Oct 99 | Platos
Nomination time for teachers
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