Energy Coast UTC have been named the best Secondary School in Cumbria at the 2021 Golden Apple awards.

In what has been an unprecedented 18 months for us all, the Golden Apple Awards provide a special opportunity to safely come together and celebrate the talents, resilience and achievements of our sector and the truly amazing people within it.

The ceremony was held last week, with Newsquest Cumbria presenting each award to the deserved winners. The University Technical College, located on the outskirts of Workington, opened in September 2014 and caters for students between the ages of 14–19. The award was sponsored by Lakes College West Cumbria, and the college was nominated alongside Workington Academy and St Bees School.

Cherry Tingle, CEO and Principal of UTC said: "We are absolutely delighted to win the Golden Apple Secondary School of the Year in Cumbria Award this year – and truly humbled to win this award for the second time! We were also delighted to be in the top three in the county in three other categories - Best Health and Well Being, Best Teaching Assistant and Best Student.

"The past 18 months have been a tough time for everyone, not least schools, and it is wonderful that the hard work of staff, students and our employer partners has been recognised in this way.

" At the UTC we concentrated on three key things: – high quality education without interruption, keeping our families as safe and fed as possible and helping others.

"From day one of the first lockdown we moved all our 7 lessons a day to online and we provided laptops or IPads for every single student. This made sure every student could access every single lesson with their own specialist subject teacher – straight away. This happened all through every lockdown.

"In addition to delivering high quality lessons, our fantastic staff also made sure that every student was spoken to by someone every single day to check they were OK and made home visits to anyone they couldn’t reach. We provided access to a qualified counsellor, free of charge, to all who needed it (staff and students) and ran daily drop in sessions with our student support team.

Our staff also delivered food parcels to those who needed it and provided food vouchers when necessary. The way everyone worked together to help and support our students and their families was truly humbling. It is testament to their hard work that almost every one of the students who left us last year were successful in gaining great results and an apprenticeship or university place.

"In addition, our technology team used their expertise to make tens of thousands of visors for the NHS – which we then distributed to hospitals, care homes, GPs surgeries, etc. We also made our food parcels available to other families in the area, as well as our own students’ families. In addition we regularly signposted our families, and others in the area, to a range of mental health support services.

"We are hugely indebted to the employers who work with us on a daily basis to support our students getting work – as well as exam - ready. Our student support team, including our school mentors and counsellor, continued to support any young people or their families who found the pandemic especially difficult. We are also delighted to work with colleagues from other schools as only by working together will we all succeed.

"We currently have a huge new build project taking place at the UTC to give us more world class engineering, construction, digital engineering and sports facilities – so the future now looks very bright for young people in West Cumbria."