A PANEL of judges has drawn up a shortlist of potential winners of The Northern Echo Schools Awards 2014.

The shortlist, which was compiled by a panel of judges made up of representatives of the competition’s nine sponsors plus Barry Nelson, Education Editor of The Northern Echo, will be published shortly.

The winners of this inaugural event will be announced at The Northern Echo Schools Awards ceremony at The Excel Centre in Newton Aycliffe on Tuesday April 1.

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The panel, which consisted of Penny Laverick from Health Education North East, Deborah Duncan from Teesside High School, Darren Hall from Avec Partnership, Jonathan Moreland from Swinburne Maddison, Helen Redford from Hays Travel, Julia Potts from Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd, Dot Butler from Reach Out Care Fostering Services, Lisa Jenkins from Skerne Park Academy and Kevin Melia from Compass Tours, spent more than three hours sifting through the entries before agreeing on a final shortlist.

The nine categories range from School Support Staff of the Year to Inspirational Primary and Secondary School Pupil of the Year and from Head Teacher of the Year to overall School of the Year.

Dot Butler, a director of Reach Out Care Fostering Service of Newton Aycliffe, and sponsor of the Inspirational Primary Pupil category, said: “I think the calibre of the entrants has been really high. It has been very difficult to award just one first place in each category. I think the entries show the breadth of innovation, professionalism and commitment within schools.”

*Tickets costing £5 a head are available for The Northern Echo Schools Awards ceremony from northernecho.co.uk/education