Schools, academies and colleges across the country will be awarded for their hard work, dedication and achievements at the eighth annual Education Business Awards on 5 December 2013 at Emirates Stadium, London. The Awards, sponsored by Rathbones, will be presented retired British athlete Roger Black MBE.
Last year, over 60 schools from across the country were in attendance to hear Newsnight’s Gavin Esler reveal the winners in 19 categories. Amongst the winners was Baxter College in Worcestershire, who took home the Outstanding Progress Award in the Secondary school category.
Baxter College, an 11-19 Academy in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, serves the seventh most socially deprived ward in England. 50 per cent of pupils are on the SEN Register. For years the school had been described as “the crisis school.” The Governors appointed a new leadership team, which has been relentless in improving every aspect of the organisation from recruiting outstanding staff, to a curriculum that mattered. 14 national teaching awards have followed plus a place in the top 100 schools list for sustained improvement from 2008 to 2012. Conversion to an Academy has been followed by a successful submission to make its Pupil Referral Unit a Free School from January 2013.
Outstanding Progress In the Primary category, the award for Outstanding Progress went to Iqra Primary School, which gained top marks in the Times Education Supplement’s 2012 School Awards, coming first in the ‘most outstanding’ primary category and runner-up for the overall best UK school. A clear indication, in Iqra’s thriving and productive environment, that staff and pupils – together with parents’ and community members’ support – are dedicated to creating premier standards.
Samuel Ward Academy in Suffolk scooped the Outstanding Academy Award. The school has maintained its impressive progress and improvement during a major re-organisation in September 2011, when it changed from an Upper School for pupils aged 13-18, to a 11-18 Academy. This was a challenging period, as the effect of school closures and mergers was traumatic for many staff. Pupil numbers rose from 865 pupils to 1230, placing a huge strain on the over-crowded buildings. The school bid for and gained building projects for a dining hall and state of the art sports centre, changes have been highly successful. Whilst in the midst of all this change the school also submitted a successful bid to open a Special Free school. Frustrated by the lack of provision in the area for pupils with special needs, especially those on the autistic spectrum, the school decided that the Free School agenda offered a source of hope to local families whose needs not being met. The special school will cater for 70 students. The hard work of the school was recognised by Ofsted which awarded the school Outstanding in every category in October this year.
Meanwhile, in the Independent School category, the Outstanding Progress Award went to Sevenoaks School in Kent. The school has an enviable record as a coeducational day and boarding school, providing academic excellence with a strong pastoral and co-curricular emphasis, as well as a global perspective inspired by the International Baccalaureate. The Sunday Times named Sevenoaks as the top performing co-educational independent school in 2012; A testimony to the school’s growing sophistication can be seen in the recently inaugurated Baccalaureate-linked Centre for Innovation lectures announcing top flight academic and professional speakers and inviting local schools and the wider Sevenoaks community to participate.