Staff and students at three schools are celebrating winning a number of national awards for their successes and dedication to their school and community over the last year.

Accrington Academy, Marsden Heights Community College and The Hyndburn Academy, have scooped the awards at United Learning’s Best in Everyone Awards 2021.

In East Lancashire there were four winners from the three schools; Emily Airey, a Modern Foreign Languages teacher at Accrington Academy, who won the NQT of the Year Award; Positive Voices, a student team at Marsden Heights Community College, who won the Team of the Year Award; Jax Edwards, a Year 7 student at The Hyndburn Academy, who won the Sportsman of the Year Award for Years 7-9; and Nicola Palmer, Head Teacher at The Hyndburn Academy, who won the School Leader of the Year Award.

In her nomination, Accrington Academy’s NQT of the Year, Emily, is described as an “efficient and independent” member of the team who is “meticulous and professional with her planning, monitoring and assessment of learners.”

Emily said: “I feel honoured to receive the Secondary NQT of the Year Award. Thank you to everyone at Accrington Academy for supporting me through this challenging year, where I’ve not only mastered teaching but online live lessons too.

“It was a lovely surprise and a fantastic way to end my first year on such a high note.”

From Marsden Heights Community College, Positive Voices were crowned Team of the Year.

The team of 13 students act as a positive voice for change within the school and local community, organising and leading a range of diverse projects.

Commenting on their win, students involved in Positive Voices said: "When we found out we had won a Best in Everyone Award we were shocked as we just wanted to do something to help our community.

“We are very happy that we have been recognised for doing the best we can to help everyone and are proud to be a part of Positive Voices."

The groups focus during lockdown was helping to support and disseminate messages to the local community about COVID-19 and the steps they could take to help reduce its spread.

Their latest project has involved launching a community podcast series, where the students have interviewed key workers in the fire service, NHS, police and education to celebrate their significant and ongoing hard work.

Representing The Hyndburn Academy was Year 7 student Jax Edwards, who was named Sportsman of the Year.

Through lockdown, Jax has immersed himself in the PE departments virtual lessons and taken part in their weekly podcast while continuing to master his talents on the football field where he represents Burnley FC in their U11 team.

Speaking of his win, Jax said: “I am really proud, honoured and surprised to win the award. I love all sports, so it is fantastic to be named Sportsman of the Year!”

The academy’s second award was won by Head Teacher Nicola Palmer, who was named School Leader of the Year for her ongoing dedication to delivering the very best education to all her students.

Alongside successfully navigating the challenges of the past year, Nicola has worked tirelessly to drive forward improvements at the academy, including leading on an exciting build project.

Commenting on her award, Nicola said: “I am humbled to have been given such a wonderful award. I feel very lucky to lead The Hyndburn Academy and oversee the significant progress that has been achieved in recent years.

“We have an incredible group of students and staff and this award is testament to their hard work, commitment and enthusiasm."