A SECONDARY school head who died unexpectedly last year was among those honoured at the Telegraph & Argus 2017 Schools Awards.

Gareth Dawkins, principal of Bradford Academy, was named Leadership Award winner at the ceremony, with his two sons accepting the award on his behalf alongside current principal Tehmina Hashmi.

He was one of 12 winners announced in front of 320 guests at the glittering ceremony held at the Aagrah Midpoint in Thornbury.

Mr Dawkins had led the school since it opened in 2007 and he had also been executive principal of University Academy Keighley.

The award was accepted by Mr Dawkins’ sons, Jonathan and Matthew. Jonathan said: “We’re amazed by this. If he were here he would have been really chuffed. This award is going to go in the school. We’re so proud.”

It was the fourth year of the awards, which were set up through a partnership between the T&A, Bradford Council and the University of Bradford. It has become a major highlight of the school year, and the event proved to be just as emotional and inspiring as previous years.

Zaheer Jaffary, a PE teacher at Carlton Bolling College, won Secondary Teacher of the Year after being nominated for his work with its girls’ cricket team in the school.

Since he set up the team three years ago, it has achieved numerous awards, with girls competing across the country, as well as breaking cultural stereotypes.

Mr Jaffary said: “I want to dedicate this award to the girls’ team, they’ll be absolutely delighted.”

Elizabeta Butkovic, of St John’s CE Primary, Bierley, was named Primary Teacher of the Year. Mrs Butkovic fled her home during the Balkan crisis in the 1980s, ending up in Bradford. A teacher in her home country, she dreamed of once again teaching, and learned English, gaining qualifications and securing a job at St John’s 18 years ago.

She said winning the award felt “surreal” adding: “I’m lost for words, I just feel so grateful for me and all my hard-working colleagues who have supported me on my challenging journey. I didn’t expect this. Just having a job as a teacher again was my dream.”

The Syrian Action Team, made up of pupils and staff at Dixons City Academy who organised events for refugees living in Bradford, won the Community Involvement Award, which recognises the work schools do to create stronger links with the wider community.

Farnham Primary School, an inner city school where many children start not being able to speak English, won the School Improvement Award after being ranked as “outstanding” by Ofsted inspectors last year. Head Richard Edwards said: “We couldn’t do it without the mums and dads. We couldn’t do it without the teachers.

“When I take this award into school I think everyone will think ‘this award belongs to us’.’’

And Horton Park Primary, which has become one of the best performing primary schools in the district for the progress its pupils make, won the Achievement Award.

Head Salma Rahman said: “We think the children will all be really proud, it is great recognition for all the hard work, determination and resilience of everyone at the school.”

Naomi Simpson, who works at Hazelbeck Special School in Bingley and is in her first year of teaching, won Newcomer of the Year. She said she was “overwhelmed” when she heard her name announced as the winner, and added: “Everyone at the school has been so supportive, I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Lynne Dobson, who has been teaching the children of Peel Park Primary School art for years, was named Support Staff member of the year. School Head Lloyd Mason Edwards accepted the award on her behalf, as she is currently in California, having retired shortly before Christmas.

However, the moment was being streamed live on Facebook to her by her family, meaning she got to experience the win from the United States.

Lesley Matthews, a Beanstalk reading volunteer at Atlas Primary School, won the Voluntary Contribution Award.

She said she hoped to encourage other people to become volunteers, saying: “A lot of people moan about education standards in Bradford, but there is an awful lot of good work going on, and not just by paid staff.”

The Business Friends of Haworth Primary School, a project that sees the school working with local businesses to give children real world business experience at an early age, won the Business in Schools category.

Head Helen Thompson said the project helped “open children’s eyes to the outside world”.

Joe Ryan and Buttershaw Business and Enterprise College won the Science and Technology Award for the work being done to boost Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) at the school.

Mr Ryan said: “I think Bradford is often looked down on for its levels of employment and skills. The more we can do to improve children’s chances of careers within STEM, the better it will be for Bradford.”

Jackie Walters, who has been on the governing body at Newby Primary School for over 25 years, won the Governor of the Year Award, a category that was introduced last year.

She said: “I accept this on behalf of all the governors who give all their time voluntarily to work behind the scenes to make Bradford schools a great success in a great city with wonderful schools and great teachers.”

The evening was hosted by BBC presenter Charlotte Leeming, and featured talks from T &A editor Perry Austin-Clarke, Councillor Imran Khan, executive for education, skills and employment on Bradford Council, and Mark Garratt, Director of External Affairs at the University of Bradford. There was also a talk by inspirational speaker David Hyner, who told the crowds about the importance of not pre-judging people, or places like Bradford, and of setting “massive goals” for yourself.