TEACHING quality and hard work within education in Thurrock were celebrated at the borough's first-ever education awards.

More than 250 people attended the glitzy event at The Backstage Centre in Purfleet on Friday night.

There were 14 winners on the night and more than 120 nominees.

Carmel Littleton, Thurrock council's director of Children's Services said: "The ceremony was all about celebrating the hard work of all those who dedicate their time to improving the life chances of all Thurrock's children.

"We celebrate people who are serious about delivering high-quality, first-rate education."

Thurrock Gazette editor Gary Pearson said: "It was a fabulous night which highlighted all that's positive about education in the borough.

"Congratulations to all the winners, and of course the many nominees. 

"These people are essential in helping to shape the future of Thurrock. They deserve all the credit they get."       

*Pictures from the night in this week's Thurrock Gazette. Out Thursday.


*Outstanding New Teacher of the Year...ANDREW JOHNSON, an English teacher at The Ockendon Academy

*Aspiring leader...CHRISTIAN BERRY, vice principal at The Ockendon Academy.

*Creative Learning...the ART DEPARTMENT at St Clere's School

*Education Support...GARETH MARSH, youth worker/perapetetic music teacher working in Thurrock's schools and Youth Service

*Excellence in Literacy and Numeracy...HANNAH LEBEZE, a teaching assistant at Thameside Primary school.

*Enterprise and Employability...MICARLA WALKER and ANNICK JANGANAUT, personal coaches at The Ockendon Studio School

*Innovation in Learning and Technolgies...LEE GREENWOOD, head of PE at William Edwards School

*Governing Body of the Year...AVELEY PRIMARY 

*Primary school Teacher of the Year... LAURA SPENCER a year 6 teacher at Bonnygate Primary

*Secondary school Teacher of the Year...CRAIG CORNELIUS,  a maths teacher at William Edwards School

*Special School Teacher of the Year...CLAIRE O'CONNOR of Treetops School

*Primary school Headteacher of the Year...CHRISTINA PUMFREY of Thameside Primary

*Secondary school Headteacher of the year...SOPHINA ASONG (Gable Hall School) and PAUL SMITH (Treetops School)

*Outstanding Contribution to Education in Thurrock...LYNDA PRITCHARD, chair of governors for for Tilbury Pioneer Academy.