Lifetime Achievement Award

Lifetime Achievement Award


A LEYLAND teacher, who made history when she became the youngest, then longest serving head at the town’s then newest school, has scooped a national accolade.

Janis Burdin, who opened the new Moss Side Primary School in the then Central Lancashire New Town Development Corporation Village 36 years ago remained at the helm until she officially retired after 40 years in the profession this summer, seeing three generations of children pass through the doors.

However, she still goes into school to help out twice a week.

Just before retirement she was presented with the Pearson Education Awards Silver Life Achievement award. Now she has been presented with the national gold award for Lifetime Achievement during a glamorous ceremony at The Brewery, London.

This is the highest accolade of the teaching profession. She was one of 13 classroom heroes honoured at the ceremony, previously the National Teaching Awards.

Janis was nominated for the accolade by pupils, parents and colleagues from her school.

They described her as a “lynchpin in education for the last 40 years. She is a role model who garners respect, trust and loyalty from pupils, staff, colleagues, parents and the community she works in, which is surpassed by nobody else in the teaching profession.”

Janis was presented with her award during a gala dinner hosted by BBC presenters Anita Rani and Sean Fletcher.

In a special BBC programme covering the event, viewers will be told that when she opened the school in Paradise Lane, in her late 20s she was the youngest head in Lancashire. Janis first considered the job when the school was just a plot of land set aside to serve the community of the ‘new town’ area of Leyland. The creation of the school has since been credited with playing a major part in the improvement of the area.

Judges were told: “She (Janis) has used her considerable talents to benefit the thousands of pupils and staff who have walked through the doors, encouraging students to share any of their talents in assemblies or presentations as a way of boosting their self-esteem”

They also heard that she leaves behind her a great legacy, and an outstanding school to which she has dedicated her career.

Shocked to receive the accolade, Janis said: “I am extremely honoured to receive this award, I have been very lucky in my career in that I was given the opportunity to open a new school and the opportunity to stay with that school for 36 years, watching it grow and develop.

“I couldn’t have done it without the wonderful support I had from my team. I have had some wonderful, committed teachers and assistants and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family.

“There are a lot of pressures in being a headteacher, external pressures, SATs, Ofsted, changes to the curriculum and internal pressures of always wanting to do the very best, the pressure we put on ourselves.

Although officially retired, Janis has no plans to sever links with the school that has been her life for nearly four decades. She is still a regular feature in life at Moss Side Primary School, giving up her time and talents to help out in the classroom two days a week.

By Sonja Astbury, Leyland Guardian