THE head of a village primary school has been awarded a prize for inspired leadership.

Neil Parker, head of Heighington CE School, won The Primary Leadership Trust Award at the North-East and Cumbria BT Teaching Awards.

The award is for teachers who demonstrate positive leadership, create a stimulating learning environment and inspire staff.

Mr Parker won a £3,000 package for the school - £2,000 cash and £1,000 of computer equipment. He was also given a Plato trophy, equivalent to an Oscar.

The judges said: "When the LEA require advice on management, systems and procedures they seek Neil's expertise to support other schools.

"He has often been called in to help revive other schools with his talent for balancing the practicalities of running what is, in effect, a small business with the emotional content of a thriving school - that's an innate understanding of each pupil's particular needs, and not just those of the pupils but his staff too.

"The best recommendation comes from the parent who originally nominated him.

"She said that he simply just deserved to be recognised for his contribution to the school he's been head of for seven years now.

"This response came after the most fleeting of meetings: the parent was visiting a number of schools to decide where to send her children.

Commended in the category for teacher of the year in a secondary school was Neil Mcgrath of Woodham Community Technology, who won £250 for his school.

The award-winning teachers and teaching assistants were nominated by fellow teachers, parents, pupils and governors.

There were 12 winners, including Outstanding New Teacher and Teaching Assistant of the Year.

Mr Parker will now go forward to a national final to be held on October 27.