Two outstanding teachers from West Midlands schools have scooped prizes in a major national awards competition.
Melvyn Kershaw, who has just retired from Haybridge High School and Sixth Form College, Stourbridge, won Headteacher of the Year in a Secondary School category in the UK Teaching Awards.
Laura Brodie, headteacher at Allen’s Croft Children’s Centre in Birmingham, took the primary school Headteacher of the Year category.
Both were awarded a gold plato – a symbol of excellence in education – in front of a 2,000-strong audience at the London Palladium on Sunday night.
They will also enjoy an all-expenses-paid weekend for two in London.
When Melvyn Kershaw took over as head of Haybridge High 20 years ago, he said his vision was that it should be the highest achieving school in Worcestershire.
By the time he retired, 98 per cent of pupils were achieving five more A* to C grades every year and Haybridge was recognised as one of the top five state schools in the country.
Mr Kershaw said he was amazed to have been nominated, adding: “It was very much an Oscars situation and I had no idea beforehand whether or not I had won.
“It was a bit embarrassing to be put forward, but I am absolutely delighted with the award.”
Mr Kershaw now works as an adviser to the Government on the 14-19 agenda, including the new diplomas.
Laura Brodie has worked at Allen’s Croft Children’s Centre for 12 years and has dedicated the past four to her vision of a £5.2 million facility for young children and families, which opened in April 2008.
From humble beginnings in a small, tatty hut, she has overseen the creation of a multi-agency, state-of-the-art community hub, providing day-to-day support, education and care for under-fives. The vast majority of her staff are parents and community members she has brought in as volunteers. .
Laura has been inspired by the work done with pre-school children in Reggio Emilia, in Italy, and believes children learn best through play and hands-on experiences.
She has employed an artist in residence to work with pupils and recently organised a free trip for 80 families to see Peter Pan, at the Birmingham Rep.
Judges said: “Laura blew us away. She leads from the front and gives people the space to develop.”