Our Jessica wins top GCSE award

Jessica with her Sixth form Year Head Mrs Valerie Mowbray and nominator for the award
Jessica with her Sixth form Year Head Mrs Valerie Mowbray and nominator for the award

Castlederg High School is celebrating the excellent achievement of their Year 13 student, Jessica Alexander, who won the top award in the GCSE category for N. Ireland, at the British Education Awards.

Students from across the UK gathered in London on Monday, January 30 at a unique awards ceremony held to honour their individual academic and extracurricular achievements in a celebration of British education. The inaugural British Education Awards (BEA) took place at Grand Connaught Rooms, Covent Garden, on January 30th, and was hosted by BBC news presenter Sophie Long.

The BEA Finalists, their families, teachers and supporters travelled from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to attend the special occasion.

The prestigious event was supported by MPs including Shadow Secretary of State for Education Angela Rayner MP, Chair of the House of Commons Education Select Committee Neil Carmichael MP and former Secretary of State for Wales The Rt Hon Stephen Crabb MP with Eastenders’ Nitin Ganatra bringing some showbiz sparkle.

Sixty-four nominees were shortlisted for awards in four categories: GCSE or Scottish National, A-Level or Scottish Higher, Vocational and Degree; and in five regions of Britain including Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales - with the more highly populated England divided into two zones.

Twenty-three winners were announced and prizes were handed to students across the full spectrum of education in subjects ranging from engineering and technology to music and the arts, agriculture, healthcare and cookery. Winners had also demonstrated an exemplary level of commitment to their studies, or another activity, beyond their mandatory learning requirements.

Castlederg High School student, Jessica Alexander, was rewarded for her excellent academic achievement of 5A* and 4A grades at GCSE level and achieving GCSE Top Student for CCEA Leisure and Tourism. Jessica is also a keen volunteer, having gained her Volunteer Now Award for 200 hours voluntary service with CLIC Sargeant and St John Ambulance. She also volunteers locally with Castlederg Youth Forum.

British Education Awards organiser Amin Chowdhury said: “It is satisfying to see so many people from such diverse backgrounds attending this event, we are overwhelmed by the response from our BEA Finalists, their families and the schools, colleges and universities represented here tonight. British Education Awards 2017 has been a huge triumph and we wish our first BEA Finalists and Winners every success in their future studies and career paths.”

Speaking to London based television station Channel S, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner MP said: “It’s fantastic to be at the British Education Awards because it’s really important that not only do we celebrate the success of education establishments but we’ve got to remember that it’s the individual students that make the establishments successful. We’ve got many different students from different backgrounds that have achieved fantastic accolades.”

Castlederg High School Principal, Elaine McKelvey was delighted with Jessica’s achievement and commented that being rewarded with a British Education Award was a great honour for Jessica, her family and for the wider school community. Jessica is an excellent ambassador for the school – a school that, in the spirit of the British Education Awards, recognises the fundamental importance of a good education in securing each young person’s future.