A Stevenage headteacher hailed "an inspirational leader" who has a "passion for education and ensuring all children are able to achieve their full potential” has won a national award.

Tony Fitzpatrick, headteacher at Barnwell School, is a bronze award winner in the 2022 Pearson National Teaching Awards. First established in 1998, the awards are an annual celebration of excellence in education in the UK.

Tony, who received bronze in the 'Headteacher of the Year in a Secondary School' category, said: “I was overwhelmed when I found out my governing body had nominated me.

"I am very honoured to have been awarded bronze. It is a fabulous achievement for Barnwell.

“This award comes on the back of our good Ofsted outcome, continuing a great year for Barnwell.

"So many people contribute so much to make Barnwell such an amazing school. Receiving this award is a very proud moment for me but, more importantly, it recognises the work of the Barnwell team.”

Tony has spent most of his 29-year teaching career at Barnwell, having joined as an assistant headteacher in 2001. He progressed to deputy head in 2006 and became headteacher in 2012. He has been at the centre of Barnwell’s journey from a small school to a large split-site school.

Jo Lawson, chair of governors at Barnwell, said: “Tony’s vision, commitment and desire to ensure students, parents, carers and colleagues receive the best provision possible was exemplified through the pandemic.

“Tony is a calm, measured and inspirational leader. He has created a greatly improved school, increased student numbers, created a very stable staff structure and improved outcomes and life opportunities for young people.

"This award is a fantastic achievement for the school and a fitting recognition of Tony’s success.”

Tony is also acting director for SEND and Inclusion at Hertfordshire County Council, supporting the development of services for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Terry Douris, the council's cabinet member for education, said: “Being recognised with this national teaching award is testament to Tony’s passion for education and ensuring all children in Hertfordshire are able to achieve their full potential.”