TEACHERS, heads, support staff and community volunteers will be among those at a glittering awards ceremony waiting anxiously to find out whether they have won a Worcester News Worcestershire Education Award.

The 36 finalists will join special guests and sponsors at the black-tie event held in Worcester on Wednesday evening.

We teamed up with the University of Worcester to create the awards - the first of their kind - which celebrate the hard work quality, passion and dedication we know exist among the many people who work with children and young people in our community.

Our judges have created a shortlist of three people for each of our 12 categories.

The winner and two runner-ups will be announced after a drinks reception and dinner at the University of Worcester's Severn Campus in Hylton Road.

Peter John, editor of the Worcester News, said: "This is the first time we have run the awards and we've been staggered by the response from our readers, many of whom shared their experiences of how the nominees have made a real difference to their families.

"We've heard inspiring stories from the cub leader who who gave a shy eight-year-old the gift of confidence, to the chef who has nourished an entire school and the teacher whose students wanted to tell the world how inspirational she was.

"Each of the names on our shortlist has had a positive influence on our community.

"Thank you to them, and to you for helping us shine a spotlight on their work."

Here are the finalists for each of the categories:

College, post-18 provider

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Group Training Association

The Training Academy

Worcester Sixth Form College

Community Involvement

Jane Wilson, 9th Worcester Cubs

Lynne Matthews, Worcester Sixth Form College

Paul Harding and Helen Lee, Discover History

Fit for Life

Andy Taynton, Pershore High School

Jamie Boswell, St Joseph's Catholic Primary School

Women on Wheels

Primary School of the Year

Hollymount School

Sytchampton Endowed Primary School

Upton Snodsbury CE First School

Headteacher/Principal of the Year

Chris Allen, Bowbrook House School

Pete Hines, Perryfields Primary Pupil Referral Unit

Samantha Roach, Tudor Grange Academy Worcester

Special Education Needs

Cally Rees, Pershore High School

Julia Wright, Hanley Castle High School

Julien Cantin, Regency High School

Teacher/Lecturer of the Year

Dan Boatwright, Worcester Sixth Form College

Georgie Lott, Nunnery Wood High School

Zinnia Wilkinson, Malvern St James

Support Staff of the Year

Inclusion Team, Birchensale Middle School

Laura Dean, Pershore High School

Sandie Roskelly, Pershore High School

Newcomer of the Year

Hannah Corteen, Regency High School

Samantha Chance, Perrywood Primary School

Zoe Harris, Museum of Royal Worcester

Unsung Hero

Dennis Simpson, Stourport High School and Sixth Form

Jamie Boswell, St Joseph's Catholic Primary School

Sharan Gledhill, Tudor Grange Academy Worcester

Secondary School of the Year

Bowbrook House School

Nunnery Wood High School

Tudor Grange Academy Worcester

Early Years Education

Avril Aldous, Mucky Munchkins

Cornmeadow Early Years and Families

Sunbeams Pre-School