Friday magazine's Bouquet of the Week award recognises the value of the straightforward gesture of appreciation. The United States has its Teachers of the Year, at school district, state and national level. Now our own national Teaching Awards have emerged. They are run by a specially-created charity, the Teaching Awards Trust, and supported by the three main political parties and the teacher unions.
Ten regional events, which were held throughout May, produced 150 regional winners in 15 categories, including one for classroom assistants. From these, 14 national winners will be selected and announced at the national awards to be held in London and televised on BBC2 on Sunday July 11.
The awards are funded entirely by private sponsorship. Lloyds TSB is the presenting sponsor and the awards bear the names of a range of businesses, for example, the Railtrack award for excellence in special needs teaching in a secondary school. The 14 national winners will take back a total of pound;20,000 to their schools and each of the 600 finalists wins pound;500.
Ann Roe, deputy head at West Cliff Primary in Whitby, is "very honoured and quite astonished" to have won the North Region Lifetime Achievement Award.
Mrs Roe is just the kind of person that a school would like to see having a turn in the spotlight. She has worked at West Cliff for 35 years - a record her headteacher Janet Bell describes as "an example of long-standing excellence in teaching. She deserves her wonderful prize."
Incidentally, for readers who wonder why there are 15 regional awards and 14 at national level, the answer is that for classroom assistants there are only regional awards. Cinderella failing to make it to the ball again?