few weeks ago, I was eating at a kosher restaurant when a lady approached me and started thanking me. She told me that last year, she had received a nomination for the Jewish Schools Awards 2017. She wasn’t a finalist, didn’t know who had nominated her, but said it was the first time she was recognised for all the work she was doing.

This is exactly what the Jewish Schools Awards was established to do; recognise the excellence in our schools on a personal level. Without question, Jewish schools are some of the highest performers in the country.

Year-on-year, our schools achieve record GCSE and A-level results and our primary schools are excelling in their SATS results.

Collectively, we are extremely proud of all of their achievements, but rarely do we take the time to thank those at the forefront of the delivery of this education.

Last year the number of nominations far exceeded those of our inaugural awards.

Our community as a whole is keen to utilise this platform to recognise individuals within the school.

The success of the school as a whole remains the responsibility and is attributable to the able guidance of the headteachers
and governors.

However, they are only as good as the team they have behind them. This incorporates not only the teachers, who are delivering the standards of education we laud, but also the army of staff outside of the classroom who are integral to the functioning of the school.

This year, the Jewish Schools Awards seeks to recognise excellence in teaching – in both secular and Jewish studies.

Parents know all too well that it is their children’s teachers who are best able to reassure them that their child is progressing, developing and achieving. They see their children’s successes every day and help to move them forward. The successes we see in the league tables are thanks to the efforts of these teachers, as is the graduates’ firm foundation in Jewish knowledge.

There are times in school when students struggle, and we want to recognise exceptional pastoral support by way of our
mental health and well-being champion award.

Partnerships for Jewish Schoos (PaJeS) is about to launch a new training programme in partnership with Place2Be and we would like to recognise the existing support in schools at this time.

Schools also rely on other unsung heroes to run smoothly and ensure that teaching can take place. For this reason, our fourth award is for non-teaching school staff and will recognise the administrators, caretakers, lunchtime supervisors and others who help contribute to creating the best possible environment for our children.

We know you have a strong desire to recognise the excellence in our schools and the sheer number of nominations proves this.

We also know that our awards enable the winners and finalists to use their prize
money to build on their schools’ success in specific ways.

The awards are dependent on you and your desire to say thank you to someone who has made a difference.

Please do visit jewishnews.co.uk and nominate, so I can look forward to being approached by even more staff from across the schools who have been recognised for their contributions

Shana tovah.