EAST Lancashire business boss Mike Damms has thrown his weight behind the Lancashire Telegraph’s Schools Awards.

The region’s crème de la crème will be honoured in the inaugural awards, launched in a bid to recognise the hard work and commitment teachers and school staff put into developing East Lancashire’s youngsters every day.

The East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce chairman said: “It goes without saying that education attainment has a direct bearing on people’s lives, including their work.

“I’m really pleased to see a celebration of excellence in education because the more people in East Lancashire that aspire to be educated and have inquiring minds, the better for the area and for the local economy.

“The better educated people are, generally, the more productive they are, and the more value they generate because of the skills they have, compared to those who don’t have them.

“The modern industrial world does not need brawn, it needs brains.”

Mr Damms continued: “From a business point of view, companies want people who are able to be free-thinking but have a good educational grasp of literacy and numeracy, and can be articulate, because those are the foundations of a good career in business.”

Dozens of entries have already been received, and more are expected in the coming days.

Categories including most inspirational teacher, unsung hero, best primary and best secondary headteachers.

Nominations for the awards, which will take place at the Stanley House Hotel on June 26, are also being taken for outstanding primary and secondary pupils and the best schools.

Headteachers, and anyone else associated with a school, can nominate their own school.

There will also be a lifetime achievement award presented.

>> Enter using the form in today's Lancashire Telegraph or via the Schools Awards section at lancashiretelegraph.co.uk