CET enjoyed a golden night at an awards ceremony celebrating the very best of education in Cumbria.

The trust’s academies and staff were presented with no fewer than four top accolades at the Golden Apple Awards, held annually to honour teachers, support staff and achievement in education.

There were three awards for staff at The Whitehaven Academy and lockdown innovation also earned William Howard School a trophy.

Leading the way was Beth Rothery, presented with the night’s top accolade, the Lifetime Achievement Award, for her 37 years of service to students at The Whitehaven Academy.

The academy’s Oliver Stewart took home the Best Education Professional Newcomer Award. The science teacher was praised for capturing the imagination of young learners.

Oliver said: “I’m really honoured to have won. My journey has been the most challenging thing of my life.

“What the school is doing for science is fantastic , we are giving students everything we’ve got, we have so many opportunities for them.”

The vital role all staff play in school life was recognised with the academy’s Dawn Burkinshaw picking up the award for Best Support Staff.

Dawn said: “It is a huge honour. As far as I am concerned, I just come in and do my job, just like everyone else.”

Dawn started in early years care in a nursery and now has a broad role, including helping students preparing for their GCSEs.

William Howard School in Brampton was the winner in the Health and Wellbeing category for its innovative approach to student support during lockdown.

As well as recording weekly Teams broadcasts on wellbeing issues and providing weekly emails for staff, the team developed an app for students which has more than 500 active users.

The app promotes positive wellbeing and is a one-stop-shop to support students with their personal development.

Workington Academy was one of just three finalists in the highly competitive Secondary School of the Year category.

Headteacher Des Bird said: “The rapid rise in student numbers at the academy is testament to how proud our community is of the school, and we are honoured that our success is recognised.”

The Whitehaven Academy’s  Rosemary Glasson was also one of three finalists for the Best Teaching Assistant Award. Rosemary’s nomination highlighted the support, encouragement and motivation her ‘can do’ attitude inspired in students.

She was particularly singled out for her support during lockdown of one autistic student who she ensured had daily contact on top of live remote learning lessons.

CET’s Chief Executive Lorrayne Hughes said: “We know our staff continually strive to do their very best for the children at all our schools.

“To have so many of them recognised for their efforts is something of which we are very proud, particularly given the circumstance of the last 18 months. My thanks, as always, to them for their dedication and commitment.”

The awards were organised by publisher Newsquest and held at Energus in Workington, with the University of Cumbria as associate sponsors.