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A TEACHER who returned to work after being diagnosed with three types of cancer was among the winners at the Telegraph & Argus Schools Awards.

Nazrul Islam, who teaches at Feversham Primary School, received one of the biggest cheers of the night when he was announced as Nursery/Primary Teacher of the year.

He was one of 11 winners at the awards ceremony, which is held every year to recognise the good work that goes on across the district’s schools.

Other winners were Carlton Bolling College, which was given the School Improvement Award for moving from special measures to outstanding in just a few years, and Janet Thomas, whose 42-year career at Canterbury Nursery led to her being named Support Staff Member of the Year.

Held at the Aagrah Midpoint in Thornbury, the Schools Awards have been running since 2014, and were set up by the T&A with the support of Bradford Council and local education providers.

On Thursday night the packed crowd, made up of teachers, school staff and representatives from Bradford Council and local businesses, heard the inspirational stories behind the 33 people and schools that had been shortlisted for the awards.

Compere for the evening was former Telegraph & Argus editor Perry Austin-Clarke, who introduced the sponsors and winners.

He said the awards helped “celebrate the wonderful achievements of not just schools, but all the people associated with them”.

T&A editor Nigel Burton was the first speaker, and said: “There is no more important person in the shaping and the character of our children than teachers – especially at the secondary level, where adolescents are rebelling against parental authority.”

He pointed out the importance a single good teacher could have on a young person’s life. He added: “If it weren’t for a great teacher I wouldn’t be here this evening. Because of that one teacher, I’ve wanted to be a journalist since I was 12.”

Michael Jameson, strategic director of children’s services on Bradford Council, was another speaker on the night. He said: “Bradford is the youngest city in the UK, and these young people are our biggest asset.”

He said the council treated education as one of its main priorities, and spoke about the Education Covenant, which aims to bring together schools, businesses, and organisations such as the council and police, as well as the local community, to try and improve education in Bradford.

He listed how Bradford’s education system seemed to be changing for the better, adding: “Key Stage 2 results were this year the best they have been for 10 years. Early years is the best it has been for a number of years, and for Progress 8, Bradford was the fourth most improved authority in the country.”

However, he warned that the council should not get complacent, and continue finding ways to improve Bradford’s schools.

Pauline Hagan, CEO of the New Collaborative Learning Trust, was keynote speaker on the evening, and spoke about the importance of social mobility – pointing out how important it was to reach children in the city from disadvantaged backgrounds.

She said she was “privileged” to be speaking, saying: “You are the people who work on the level of an individual child, a class or a school, to secure the future of a generation who will hopefully bring something of great value back to the city where they were born.”

She said it was particularly important to get children from families who had never gone into higher education to expand their horizons.

The trust will be opening New College Bradford, a new sixth form college in the city centre, next year.

They will build the £19 million college, which will eventually have 1,200 students aged between 16 and 18, on the former site of Britannia Mills, off Nelson Street.

It is one of two new sixth form colleges that are due to open in September 2019 as part of a major shake-up of post-16 education in the district.