North Yorkshire County Council has celebrated the second year of its teaching awards scheme, which recognises school staff who inspire and make a real difference to the lives of North Yorkshire’s children and young people.

The awards represent a collaboration between the county council and headteachers who are members of the council’s secondary improvement partnership. 

The aim is to celebrate good practice as well as raising the profile of teaching and to improve the esteem of the profession.

“We have much to celebrate in North Yorkshire and I want to congratulate all our winners this year,” said Cllr Mulligan. “We have many great teachers and support staff who are dedicated to helping children and young people achieve their very best.

“So many go above and beyond to provide excellence in teaching and learning.   They help and encourage and have the highest expectations of our children and young people and what they can achieve.

“Teachers in North Yorkshire show fantastic commitment and in return get great support through professional development, partnership working and sharing good practice.

“A very high proportion (87%) of North Yorkshire’s secondary age pupils attend a good or outstanding school, 4% above the national average. This essentially comes down to great teaching.

“We therefore hope the awards are a signal to teachers everywhere and to those wanting to become teachers, to come to North Yorkshire and build a great career.

The awards celebration was held last Thursday (21 June) at the Pavilions in Harrogate. Further details about working as a teacher in North Yorkshire, vacancies and teacher training, plus more photos from the Teaching Awards, can be found on

Award winners:

Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School

Adam Otway, Rossett School

Rossett School said: Adam is an inspirational teacher of History, he engages his students through a range of methods, usually involving humour. In addition to delivering his lessons he has developed his own You Tube channel and built his own subject website, to support students’ learning outside of the classroom.

Highly commended: Laura Beardsworth, Sherburn High School

  Newly Qualified Teacher of the Year

George Middleton, Tadcaster Grammar School

Tadcaster Grammar School said: As well as teaching consistently high quality lessons, George has organised whole school events such as Sport Relief, raising more than £3000 for charity.  His boundless energy, enthusiasm and passion for teaching and for young people are a tonic to anyone who comes into contact with him
Highly commended: Stacey Ridley, Richmond School

Outstanding Support in Schools – Non-Teaching individual

Debbie Duncan, Rossett School

Rossett School stated: Debbie has worked at Rossett School since 2002 and in that time, has worked her way through a series of roles to support the students, staff and management of the school. In 2005 she was appointed as the Headteacher’s  PA and Clerk to Governors.

Debbie is in school earlier than everyone else and the last to leave. She has supported and led staff welfare initiatives such as the running club and has led and judged the School’s’ Bake-Off’ competition in the last few years.

Highly commended: Stephen Birdsall, Richmond School and Stef Blood, Risedale School

Outstanding Support in Schools – Non-Teaching team

 School Site Team (Caretakers), King James School

King James School said: The Site Team are highly respected by everyone in school and are an integral part of our support for young people.  The students in school recognise their value and will approach them for help and support with anything from a lost locker key to helping to set up the lighting for the school production. They support over 170 late night meetings and events per year.

Highly commended: The Therapeutic Team, Rubicon Centre, Selby

Outstanding School Teaching Team of the Year:

Maths Team, Sherburn High School

Sherburn High School said: The collaborative, collegiate and cohesive nature of the staff enables all to contribute in generating a team that strive for excellence and high level of performance. A passion and love of the subject exudes itself throughout the team and this is also conveyed to students and other staff. Students speak highly of the subject and the learning they receive; which is reinforced in external and internal surveys and reports. Maths is by far the most popular A level at the school, reflecting its achievements and esteem.

Highly commended: PE Department, Ryedale School

Outstanding Team Leader of the Year:

Helen Mukherjee, Upper Wharfedale School

Upper Wharefedale School said: Helen’s passion for lifelong learning and community cohesion is second to none. Parents, students, staff and governors all value her professionalism, support and above all trust and moral standing. She leads by example and has developed others within the pastoral team beyond their own expectations.

Highly Commended: John Ralphs, Sherburn High School

Special Needs Teacher of the Year

Janet Laidler-Smith, Upper Wharfedale School

Upper Wharfedale School said: Janet works as Inclusion Co-ordinator in a school with almost 4 four times the national average of students with Education Health and Care Plans.

As such, she works with some of our most vulnerable students, ranging from moderate and high learning needs in the classroom to severe autism, which is her main area of specialism.

She is well respected by students, parents and colleagues alike and sets a positive example to all.

Teaching Assistant of the Year

Helen Day, Stokesley School

Stokesley School said: Helen Day is quite simply an outstanding member of staff who is highly committed to young people, especially those with Special Educational Needs. As an Advanced Teaching Assistant, Helen has touched many students’ lives in a quiet and unassuming manner.

Highly commended: Sarah Buckley, Settle College