SCHOOLS celebrated success after being showered with awards for their achievements and top teaching staff.

The Swindon Education Excellence Awards 2019 saw a whopping 66 gongs given out to deserving winners from schools all over the borough.

Along with singling out superb staff, the categories highlighted careers work, attainment, health, good practice and progress.

Dorcan Academy’s head of English Joy Smith won a Teacher Excellence Award before she retired after 35 years of teaching there.

Headteacher Sherryl Bareham said: “It was ideal to nominate Joy in her last year here because she has given so much to the school and now she has something to show for it.

“We are really pleased that Joy and our science teacher Andrew Robinson won. I think it’s really important that teachers are recognised for the jobs that they do. It means a lot to them, it’s a good endorsement of their careers.

“Our pastoral support team also received recognition which is brilliant. We have come a long way in improving behaviour at the school and that change required a big team effort from everyone.”

Other officially-excellent teachers included maths teacher Laura Conroy and head of science James Maher from Lawn Manor Academy, while school librarian Rachel Reynolds received recognition for good practice.

Laura said: “I feel really pleased to have won with my colleagues, it demonstrates the excellent work being done at this school and raises its profile. I spend a lot of time thinking carefully about the lessons and plans to meet the needs of the students, I’m dedicated, so that might be why I won.

“I’ve worked in a few schools as a teaching assistant before coming here and, though I may be a bit biased, I think there is something special about our pupils.

“Some of them come from quite challenging backgrounds and difficult environments but once they step through the school gates, they put it all behind them and are determined to succeed and be resilient.”

Swindon Academy walked away with six awards.

Head Ruth Robinson said: “We are absolutely thrilled and always proud when staff, students and families are recognised. It’s a real honour, our teachers are second to none.”

Ridgeway School and Sixth Form College won the Overall Highest Attainment and GCSE English awards.

Headteacher James Povoas said: “We are delighted that the excellent teaching going on at the school and the hard work of staff and students has been recognised. Everybody here works together to get the best outcomes for the students with the help of parents.

“We aim to give our students everything they need go on to be successful in life and their own personal development as well as going forward into the world of work.

“We won the maths award in the previous two years so it was nice to have our English department recognised this time.”

Swindon Borough Council picked the winners and hosted the ceremony at Steam.

Council leader David Renard said: "Our teachers do amazing work throughout the year so it is absolutely right we recognise their achievements and publically thank them for their efforts in helping Swindon pupils reach their potential.

"I hope the awards help inspire our teachers and schools to keep going the extra mile and to put educational excellence at the heart of everything they do.”