The Bolton News Education Awards are back for 2023. 

Our awards celebrate the best in Bolton’s schools, from students to teachers to entire schools. 

Our winner for Support Worker of the Year, sponsored by The Bolton News, is Andy Bassett of St Catherine's Primary School, Horwich

Described as 'the nicest and funniest man that ever came to St Catherine’s Primary, Mr Bassett is the caretaker at the school. 

The statement nominating him reads: "Between lost ties, forgotten water bottles, sibling arguments and endless traffic; many parents are exhausted by the time they finally arrive at the school gates.

"For us parents at St Catherine’s, we are truly blessed to be met each and every day with a cheery, calming and heart felt ‘hello’. Whilst this may seem a small gesture, words cannot express what it means to us parents.

"He knows each and every child, not just by name but also by nature. He knows who to give a distant nod to; who to high five; who to welcome with a joke. He can even say ‘hello’ in multiple languages!" 

At the prize-giving, a video was played in which numerous pupils read out a poem about Mr Bassett. 

It includes lines such as: "Mr Bassett is our number one, he makes St Catherine’s so much fun" and "buildings and maintenance are his dealings, but he also cares about everyone’s feelings".

Mr Bassett said: "(I) just was not expecting that at all this morning, it's fantastic. 

"It was a little bit nerve-wracking, I was wondering what was going on. It was when I was a lot younger that I got called into the head's office, not now!

"I'm incredibly lucky, I work in a fantastic school with fantastic staff, and absolutely fantastic kids. It's not every day that you can say it's a pleasure coming into work, but it is a pleasure. 

"It's quite emotional, the kids are great. Every single day the kids are lovely, but to hear them say things about you and just how cute they are, it's really, really lovely. 

He added: "It was a new role for me 18 months ago so I didn't really know what to expect, but I've just thrown myself into it really." 

Congratulations also go to Salli Sigurnjak, Lostock Primary School and Tina Crossley, Bolton St Catherine's Academy, who were highly commended for this award.