THE best and brightest in Bradford’s education were celebrated last Thursday at the Bradford Schools Awards 2019.

Almost 1,000 people filled the Aagrah Midpoint in Thornbury for the sixth annual awards dinner recognising the teachers, governors, leaders, support staff and students who have made their mark on education in the Bradford district over the past 12 months.

Whether that be inspiring students to achieve their maximum potential, going the extra mile for their students and colleagues, pushing parents to be the best they can be for their children, or setting the benchmark for their classmates, the nominees for this year’s awards were a fantastic bunch who were all worthy of taking home an award, but there good be only one winner in each category on the night.

Kicking things off were St Francis Catholic Primary’s choir - a first for the Schools Awards - who performed a rousing rendition of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida, before leaving the stage to a standing ovation.

Kate Walby, presenter on ITV Borders, was the host for the evening, and welcomed the guests to the event.

She said: “I am delighted to be here at this brilliant event to cast a spotlight on all the amazing and exciting things that go on in Bradford’s schools, day-in day-out, and to celebrate some of the wonderful achievements of not just the schools but all who are associated with them.”

Following Ms Walby’s welcome was Telegraph & Argus editor Nigel Burton, who said: “Against a grim national backdrop, Bradford’s schools and colleges are performing miracles every day.

“It’s an exciting time to be a teacher in Bradford. This September post-16 education will enter a new era, with the opening of two purpose-built, specialist sixth form colleges.

“When New College Bradford and Dixons Sixth Form Academy open, they will give students finishing their GCSEs a fresh choice on how to continue their studies.

“Elsewhere, the progress made by Bradford primary school children is above the national average; Dixons Academies Trust was one of the highest performing academy trusts in the country in the schools league tables and half of Bradford’s state-funded secondary schools achieved above average progress scores, signalling the advances being made in secondary education.

“But it’s not just the teachers that make a great school. It’s the teaching assistants, the dinner ladies, the office administrators, the cleaners, the school crossing patrols, the governors, the volunteers and, most of all, the pupils.

That’s why this year’s awards have been extended to acclaim the stars of the future - our students of the year.”

Also speaking at the even was Bradford Council’s interim strategic director for children’s services Gladys Rhodes-White.

Mrs Rhodes-White spoke of her passion for education and the importance of giving the next generation the best possible start in life to help Bradford prosper in the future.

The guest speaker for the evening was Bradford Council’s John Galt, who is one of the driving forces behind Bradford Dragonboat Festival.

He shared stories of how he first got into dragonboat racing in 1995, and the progress and achievements he has made over the years, winning international gold medals and championships, setting a Guinness World Record by taking a dragonboat across the English Channel - a feat the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton was inspired to try and emulate after meeting Mr Galt - and how Bradford’s Dragonboat Festival came into being.

He was joined onstage by Nicole Stott, who was an integral part of starting the Youth Championships at the Bradford festival, who told her inspiring story of overcoming adversity and how sport helped her do this in an uplifting speech.

There was also a motivating and inspiring presentation from headline sponsors Bradford for Teaching, before dinner was served and the awards were handed out.

There were winners on the night from all walks of life, teachers in the latter stages of their careers and some who have recently retired, as well as one who is only six months into her teaching careers.

Nearly every corner of the district was represented on the night, with nominees from Bingley to Barkerend and Holme Wood to Otley, and ages ranging from 11 to 70.

On the night, it was Bradford’s leading ladies who swept the board, picking up eight of the ten awards up for grabs.

Read on in this supplement to find out which of our fantastic nominees took home the prize in each category, and it was a good night for Bradford’s brilliant women in education.