OUTSTANDING teachers from Colchester and beyond have been recognised for their commitment to their schools.

Essex County Council organised the 2019 Essex Teaching Awards, which took place at Hylands House in Chelmsford.

Nine teachers from Colchester received awards on the night, including Montgomery Infant and Nursery School headteacher, Sally Leung.

She was given the award for Primary Headteacher of the Year.

Sally, who has been headteacher at the school since 2010, said the award was a culmination of her 40 years at the school.

She said: “I came here as a newly qualified teacher and became headteacher so I’m really proud of my achievement.

“The children have always come first and my style of leadership supports all members of staff.

“I just can’t believe I won, it’s overwhelming and an accolade for me.”

She is going to be retiring in July and is spending her last few months celebrating her hard work.

Sally, who also leads the Military Wives Choir in Colchester, also recently won the Forces Unsung Hero Award by BFBS Radio.

She said: “I just hope I have made a difference in children’s lives and have made them happy.”

Ceri Jones, of Chipping Hill Primary School in Witham, was highly commended in this category.

The winner of the Secondary School Headteacher of the Year award went to Rob James, of The Ramsey Academy in Halstead.

Neil Gallagher, of Clacton County High School, was highly commended for his work.

Ann Bryant, assistant headteacher at the Thomas, Lord Audley School in Colchester was highly commended in the Lifetime Achievement section of the awards.

And Dan Brown, from The Stanway School, won the New Teacher of the Year award.

Georgia Kehoe, from The Ramsey Academy in Halstead, was highly commended.


The Stanway School was also celebrating as the winner of the Secondary School Teacher of the Year award went to Rebecca Reilly.

Rebecca, who has been at the school for 22 years, said: “I’m really happy and really honoured. I’m really passionate about teaching languages and offering trips abroad.

“I also do a lot of workshops and pastoral work, I just want the children to be happy.”

Ben Reakes from Colchester Academy was highly commended.


Academy headteacher Jenny Betts said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Ben, our thanks go to him on behalf of the students and parents for working so hard to provide an exceptional learning experience. We are very proud.”

Katie Johnson from Shorefields School in Clacton was also highly commended for the Special School Teacher of the Year award.

The winner of the Teaching Assistant of the Year award went to Hazel Martin from Fordham All Saints C of E Primary School in Colchester.

Jamie Fyfe from Holy Family Catholic Primary School in Witham was highly commended.

The winner of the Early Years Practitioner of the Year went to Helen Taylor from Tiddlywinks Preschool in Great Horkesley.


She said: “I have been manager for about ten years now, I think every child that comes here is made to feel part of my family.

“I go above and beyond and I give them 110 per cent as if the children are happy they are going to learn.

“We have a lot of children with special educational needs and they need that extra love and support.

“There is so much pressure on children when they go off to school.”

Gemma Baker from Nanny Jo’s Day Nursery in Clacton was highly commended.

The governing bodies at Stanway and Thomas, Lord Audley schools were also highly commended.

Both schools share one governing body as they are part of a multi-academy trust.

The winner of the Student Choice award went to Koray Gurur of Thurstable School, Tiptree, while Kerry Rowland from Thomas, Lord Audley School and Andrew Chitsakamile from Clacton County High School were highly commended.

Ray Gooding, Essex county councillor responsible for education, said: “I’m delighted to have had another opportunity to celebrate the fantastic contribution our education colleagues make to the lives of children and young people across the county.

“I’m pleased we’ve also recognised our early years colleagues for the first time.”