The first ever Examiner Schools Awards featured a very special and emotional award.

Yesterday’s event at Kirklees College revealed the winners of the competition and showed just how great some of our schools are ... both in and out of the classroom.

But the award that touched everyone’s hearts was for a teacher from Spring Grove Junior, Infant and Nursery School who died very suddenly.

Samaira Akram was a newly qualified teacher with three young children who left a career in IT to go into the classrooom because she wanted to make a real difference to young lives.

She died very suddenly in February this year and was nominated for Inspirational Teacher of the Year by Spring Grove headteacher Shazia Azhar.

Examiner Schools Awards

She said: Each child was inspired to learn by Samaira’s enthusiastic delivery and she did achieve her dream of making a difference to the lives of children. She had so much to give but in the short time she was with us she left her mark and we will never forget her.”

The judges gave a Special Recognition Award which Samaira’s family went on stage to accept to tumultuous applause.

Shazia said: “The family feel so very proud of Samaira and it is a great comfort to them that she has been recognised for her achievements.”

Kirklees Mayor Clr Jim Dodds was the guest of honour.

He said: “It has been an absolutely first class event and it’s so good to recognise all the good work that goes on in schools throughout Kirklees.”

The overall sponsor was teacher recruitment agency Vision for Education and branch manager Claire Darling said: “It’s been an honour to judge this year’s Examiner Schools Awards and with so many amazing entries it’s also been a difficult task. The event was a wonderful celebration of all the great work that goes on in our local schools.”

The other sponsors were educational consultancy Pivot Care and Kirklees College.

The presentations were attended by around 180 pupils, staff and teachers representing the 30 schools which had made it through to the shortlist.

Here is the full list of winners and there will be a special supplement on the awards in the Examiner on Thursday, July 14.

Finalists and winners were:

School Communication Award


Honley High School

Meltham Moor

Winner Hipperholme Grammar School

Healthy Living Award


Lindley CE Infant School

Slaithwaite CofE School

Winner Boothroyd Primary

Active Community Award


St Thomas CE (VC) Primary School

Honley High Fairtrade Forum

Winner: Hepworth J&I School

Special Award

For long term activity in the community

Winner: All Saints Catholic College

Achievement Award


Unity Publishing, Brighouse High School

Lindley Junior School Athletics Team

Winner: Lindley Junior School Choir

Trainee Teacher of the Year


Emma Gannon, Ethos College

Roise Whitham, Westborough High School

Rabia Ahmad, Whitcliffe Mount School

Harriet Baker, Shelley College

Dan Quirk, Shelley College

Winner: Alex Nightingale, Whitcliffe Mount School

School Support Staff of the Year


Valerie Hollingworth, Shepley First School

Yvonne AInley, Almondbury Community School

Julie Polzin, Greenhead College

Janet Pearson, Whitcliffe Mount School

Winner: Sue Laybourn, Lydgate School

Inspirational Teacher of the Year, sponsored by Vision for Education

Examiner Schools Awards sponsor Vision for Education


Shaun Haywood, Brockholes C of E School

Lisa Lockwood, Almondbury Community School

Winner: Catherine Ketteringham, Almondbury Community School

Special recognition Award (posthumous)

Winner: Samaira Akram

Spring Grove teacher Samaira Akram

Head Teacher of the Year


Jacqueline Green, Brian Jackson College

Gill Robinson, Castle Hill School

Winner: Claire Lyles, Norristhorpe J&I School

Nursery School of the Year

Award presented by Mayor Jim Dodds


Flatts Nursery School and Day Care

Little Acorns Nursery

Oakwood House Nursery & Forest School

Winner: Portland House Nursery

Primary School of the Year, sponsored by Pivot Care

Award presented by Andrew Kitterick, Michael Smith & Lucy Smith of Pivot Care

Examiner Schools Awards sponsor Pivot


Warwick Road Primary School

Mount Pleasant Primary School

Winner: Boothroyd Primary

Secondary School of the Year, sponsored by Kirklees College

Examiner Schools Awards sponsor Kirklees College

Award presented by Claire Darling, Huddersfield Branch Manager, Vision for Education


Almondbury Community School

Honley High School

Winner: Shelley College