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Lunch is for the inspired winners

It was a lavish lunch with free wine, fine entertainment and a seat near a Welsh celebrity.

But this three-hour bash at Cardiff's Marriott hotel was not laid on for media luvvies or professional party-goers. Instead, it was a chance for members of the teaching profession to take part in the Inspirational Teachers Accolades for the first time.

Away from the stresses of the classroom, heads and teachers basked in the limelight and, more importantly, skipped lunchtime duty. Movers and shakers from the world of Welsh education lined up to hear who had impressed judges with their classroom performance.

In all, there were six categories, each with three finalists and one overall winner. More than 500 entries were received for the first-ever Wales-based teaching awards, sponsored by New Directions recruitment company.

Adrian Davies, head of Caerleon comprehensive school near Newport, won inspirational head. Mr Davies was said to be a headteacher who had never forgotten he was a teacher.

Paul Catris, from St Patrick's RC high, in Cardiff, clinched the trophy for inspirational primary head. Angela Thomas, deputy head of Cardiff's Corpus Christi RC high, won inspirational secondary school teacher. She is known for her skill in identifying children with difficulties.

Jennifer Barry, from St Albans RC primary in Cardiff, took top prize for inspirational primary teacher. She was praised by judges for her handling of children with behavioural problems.

Kath Keeley, from The Hollies special school in Cardiff, was inspirational teacher of a special school. And Lynne Meyrick, head of Maes Ebbw school in Newport, won inspirational head of a special needs secondary. Judges said her school was the envy of many.

Trophies made of Welsh slate were presented by Welsh rugby legend Terry Cobner, former world indoor 400m champion Jamie Baulch, and Scott Young, former Cardiff City FC player.

Pupils from Llantarnam school, in Cwmbran, provided after-dinner entertainment.

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