Inspirational and creative teachers from across the country have gathered for tea in the Houses of Parliament, in the run-up to the Tes Schools Awards.
The event, hosted by Tes editor Ann Mroz and Labour MP Lucy Powell, precedes the awards ceremony, which will be held in central London later this month.
All teachers shortlisted for one of the awards categories were invited for cake and tea at the afternoon event.
Background: Tes Schools Awards 2018: The winners
“This is my first time in the House of Commons, so it’s very exciting,” said Aimee Durning, of University of Cambridge Primary School, who has been nominated for the award for classroom assistant of the year. “To be honest, I can’t believe I’m here.”
Paul Hyde, headteacher of Alcester Academy in Warwickshire and nominee for headteacher of the year, agreed. “It’s quite rewarding to walk past Westminster and see what’s going on, especially with all that security,” he said.
The awards ceremony – one of the biggest nights in the education calendar – celebrates the dedication of teachers and staff working in schools and early-years settings.
The 11th annual Tes Schools Awards will be held on 21 June, in the lavish surroundings of the Grosvenor House Hotel, on London’s Park Lane. The winners will be announced by comedian Harry Hill.
Awards will be presented in 17 categories, ranging from new teacher of the year to an award for sustainable school of the year. In addition, an overall school of the year will be chosen from the early-years, primary, secondary and alternative-provision schools of the year. A lifetime achievement award will also be presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to education over a number of years.
“It was half-term when we found out I was nominated, so we had a secret ceremony,” said Janine Nettey, of Joseph Cash Primary in Coventry, among the nominees for English team of the year.
“My head called me when it was announced, and screamed down the phone in excitement. We’re going to be holding our own ceremony to celebrate – we’re all going out.”
Mr Hyde, meanwhile, believes that he was nominated for his willingness to help pupils perform to the best of their ability. His school opens on Saturdays and during the holidays, and his staff will pick up children who missed the bus to school, and drive them in themselves.
“I was shaky and had to sit down,” he said, about the moment when he heard of his nomination. “It’s a huge honour.”
Lucy Powell, who served as shadow education secretary in 2015-16, told nominees: "You all do an immense job."
And Tes editor Ann Mroz said: “There was a record number of entries this year, so everyone deserves their place here."