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 Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Bolton Council, goes to Melanie Flynn of Kearsley Academy. 

Having been at Kearsley Academy for (almost?) 20 years, Mrs Flynn 

A testimony to her reads: "Mel has been an instrumental member of the Kearsley Academy (previously George Tomlinson School) for 19 years.

"This has included starting as a drama teacher, moving to the role of the Assistant Principal and now in her current role of Vice Principal for Teaching and Learning, whilst also teaching English. 

"Mel has always been determined, as a role model, to continue her time in the classroom. For the past five years Mel has worked tirelessly to ensure that she embeds a love for learning across the school and this is clearly apparent in her own classroom.

"She has been responsible for the vast majority of our students who have previously been struggling with their English in Year 11." 

It adds: "This has resulted in the most incredible results (nationally top 3%) for our students in English over the past few years. 

"Beyond her outstanding leadership across the school and her unbelievable skills as a teacher, Mel is completely child centred and dedicated to the young people in Kearsley and Farnworth.

"Her kind, warm and humorous nature is infectious and has benefited our young people and staff for decades." 

Another reads: "Thank you for being kind and lovely when I walk in the entrance. You always smile at me. You are very cheerful. You always help me in school and make school a happy place for me.

"When someone was unkind to me you made me feel safe and you do not tolerate unkind behaviour. Thank you for being a super star. You are the only person like this in the whole universe."

She said: "I feel really delighted, I feel really privileged. I love my job and the school, and I feel that it was a complete shock. 

"There are a lot of people who could have won this award who make a big difference in Bolton, so I feel extra privileged to have won it. 

"Mr Newton had told us as leaders that we had won an award, I didn't know who they were going to announce to be the award winner. 

"When he announced that it was me, I felt shocked more than anything, but completely delighted and proud of the school, because we are really proud of the school." 

She added: "We are used to the children saying kind things, but when somebody else reads them out... I think it just makes it extra special. 

"The lovely words by the children, particularly, make you feel good don't they?"

Congratulations also go to Andy Feeley of The Orchards Federation, who was highly commended for this award.