AFTER receiving dozens of nominations a panel of judges have picked the 27 finalists for the first ever Daily Echo Education Awards.

Judges spent hours going through the 164 nominations received and selected three finalists for each of the nine categories.

As previously reported, the awards are a chance to recognise the work of dedicated teachers, support staff and educational institutions across the county.

Now, after receiving nominations for the past three months, finalists were finally picked by judges Cllr Peter Edgar, executive member for Education for Hampshire County Council, Cllr Darren Paffey, cabinet member for education and skills for Southampton City Council, Jo Richardson, promotions executive and Debbie Bielby, promotions assistant at Southern Daily Echo.

Cllr Paffey said: “Congratulations to everyone that was nominated. You are all making a positive impact on young people from across the area.”

The finalists will receive a letter in the next few days and will be invited to an awards ceremony at Grand Harbour Hotel on May 11.

Jo Richardson said: “It was very very difficult to go through all the applications because they all go above and beyond. It is very important to run this initiative to boost morale in all the schools and recognise what people do because they normally don’t get that recognition they deserve.”

The nine categories aim at recognising the most supporting staff member, the best volunteer and teachers, along with innovative ideas that have had a significant impact on students or on an educational establishment.

The dedication teachers that have developed initiatives that forge strong links with their community will also be celebrated during the evening along with the individual, school or college that could demonstrate outstanding achievements for their educational establishment.

The college or school of the year will also be announced during the ceremony.

Ms Richardson added: “Hopefully the competition will get bigger and better next year with more entries and extra categories and sponsors.”

Businesses who are interested in sponsoring the initiative and benefit from the exposure that the Daily Echo Education Awards provides, can contact Natalie Sprake ( on 02380 424872 for details of the sponsorship packages available.

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