Hackney schools stars

Nominations for Hackney schools stars 2018 are now closed.

2018-2019 shortlist

Schools star

  • Richard Mitchell – Haggerston School
  • Mirjam Vollmann – London Fields Primary School
  • Barbara Reissner – The Garden School
  • Claire Keady – Shoreditch Park Primary School

Teacher of the year

  • Donald Friel – London Fields Primary School
  • Daniel Smith – Hackney New Primary School
  • Hannah Greene – Tyssen Community School

Schools lifetime achievement

  • Jaqueline Walcott Nelson – Clapton Girls’ Academy
  • Rachel Ray Choudhuri – Haggerston School
  • Caroline Tyson London – Fields Primary School

The winners will be announced 27 March 2019.

See below for more about the categories and last year’s winners.


Teacher of the year

Teachers have some of the most challenging but extremely rewarding jobs. We want to make sure that they get the recognition they deserve. We are looking for outstanding teachers who continually strive for their pupils, support them to achieve, who have improved results, who are innovative and forward thinking, and make a real mark on our children and young people. What they do shapes and changes lives: please nominate your amazing teachers.

Hackney schools star

It’s not just teachers who make a good impression on children, parents and carers; whether they are staff who are cooking meals, cleaning, managing facilities and keeping things running, caring for our early years children, providing brilliant clubs or special educational services – without these dedicated staff – schools would struggle to reach the high standards we expect. Often in the background – our support staff are essential to meet all of our children’s needs on a daily basis.

Lifetime achievement

This award is to recognise a teacher or schools staff who has proved their dedication and commitment to Hackney. They will have served over 15 years in their organisation or in service to children in Hackney.

The judges will be looking for someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the borough, and deserves recognition for being an amazing ambassador over their years of service.

Hackney Schools Stars 2017

Winner: Schools Star – Donna Davis, Early Years Educator & Learning Support Coordinator, Wentworth Nursery School

Nominated by a parent for her care of their autistic son, Hugo, they say Donna has been instrumental, as his key worker, in transforming the way he communicates.

This obviously means everything to them – as he’s also developed social and interaction skills, through Donna, that enable him to approach other children to join or initiate games.

This amongst many other radical changes in Hugo, Donna has given his parents real hope for the future in terms of their aspirations for their child.

She’s a true professional who is committed to professional development, to learning a wide variety of skills, methods and approaches to support the children across the nursery school. She is changing lives. Thank you Donna.

Donna Davis

The shortlist

  • Chris Belgrave, Learning Mentor/Lead Behaviour Professional, Millfields Community School
  • Claire Napier, Sixth Form Coordinator, Stormont House School
  • Maria Dennis-Waters, Deputy SENCO/HLTA, City of London Academy
  • Nuray Cakmak, Learning Assistant, Clapton Girls’ Academy
  • Robert Thomson, Premises Manager, St. Mary’s C of E Primary School

Winner: Teacher of the Year​ – Debbie Ashton, Grasmere Primary School

Debbie is described as an amazing teacher who brings learning to life for her students.

Nominated by a parent for turning around her daughter’s attitude to learning, to the extent that she’s now got an interest in nursing and is applying Debbie’s strategies to help teach herself, and her family, to read.

Debbie’s pupil was self-conscious about being from a different country, but in Debbie’s class she says she always felt that she truly belonged.

Grasmere’s parents are struck by her deep knowledge of each child, their strengths and needs.

Debbie makes innumerable contributions to Grasmere as the SENCO and it wouldn’t be the inclusive school it is without her.

The shortlist

  • Allison Isaak, De Beauvoir Primary School
  • Charlotte Nagle, The Complete Works
  • Oliver Heath, Shacklewell School
  • Rachel Adediran, Morningside Primary School

Schools Lifetime Achievement  – Rose Flaherty, Parkwood Primary School

A well-loved member of the local community, Rose became Parkwood Primary’s midday meals supervisor about forty years ago, and is now a Senior Teaching Assistant and Senior Meals Supervisor – seeing generations pass through her care since without slowing down.

She gives meticulous care to the children, and the school’s environment, ensuring that potentially hungry children are kept fed, warm and safe every day of the school year. And in fact, a Parkwood teacher’s life would be nothing like as pleasant without her looking after them too.

There’s always a well-stocked staff room. Rose oversees behaviour in the lunchtime playground, establishing a group of older children to buddy up with the younger children.

Rose has indeed seen it all – from broken limbs and raging fevers, to heads stuck in railings. From memorable Christmas parties to sowing play costumes, Rose makes sure that every child is safe and happy; even when this has, occasionally in the past, put her in harm’s way.

Put simply, Rose is loved by everyone at Parkwood, and they could never repay her for the dedication she’s shown over four decades.

Rose Flaherty

The shortlist

  • Christine Holden, Seabright Primary School
  • Janice Spensley, Mossbourne Parkside Academy
  • Morna Scales, Randall Cremer Primary School
  • Rose Flaherty, Parkwood Primary School
Page updated on: 3 June 2019