Deserved praise for hardworking schools

Innovative technology
Leighton Park School scooped the ICT Facility Award, sponsored by Fujitsu, for its recognition of being a Centre of Excellence for Computer Science. It has been able to disseminate support and guidance through its vast and varied experiences that it provides young people, both within the school and the wider Thames Valley Community through its whole school iSTEM+ initiative. This has included trips to leading IT organisations such as Google, Microsoft and Cisco, empirical academic research, all of which has been shared with many primary and secondary schools across the UK and Europe.

The ICT Innovation Award, sponsored by Awesome Apps, was awarded to Open Academy Norwich for its ‘Project Refurb Club’. This involves students refurbishing old PCs to distribute throughout the local community, a cause close to the hearts of both students and staff.

The idea was devised by students in Years 7, 8 and 9 and championed by students in Years 10 and 11, who study Creative Media and Computer Science. This was achieved by integrating the project units. ‘Project Refurb’ is currently managed by ‘Digital Ambassadors’ in Years 7 to 13, whose roles are diverse and include mentors who teach at ‘Codeclub’ an after-school club to learn how to programme.

Bromley High School scooped the STEM Award, sponsored by Create Education. A key aim of the curriculum at Bromley is that girls should appreciate how STEM subjects can help them make their mark in the world. This year saw the appointment of a STEM Co-ordinator, whose remit it is to promote challenging science and technology experiences throughout the school including a biennial trip to CERN. The school has also worked with a grant from HSBC to provide robotics equipment.

Supportive ethos
The SEN Provision Award was awarded to Clare Mount Specialist Sports College, which provides an outstanding education for youngsters with Autism. Since gaining NAS Autism Accreditation in June 2014, the college has recorded exceptional exam results, with 58 per cent of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs or equivalent, an improvement of 26 per cent from the previous year. The SEN Inclusion Award meanwhile, sponsored by Alan Patient & Co, went to Ernesettle Community School for its inclusive ethos where every teacher is a teacher of SEND. Rigorous systems for tracking children’s progress are managed by a highly dedicated team and strong relationships with other supportive agencies to foster an environment where children who have had difficulty accessing a mainstream environment are able to thrive.

Environmental considerations
Hever Church of England Aided Primary scooped two awards; the Environmental Practice Award, sponsored by Zenergi, and the School Building Award. The new double classroom block at the school is as an extremely energy efficient and low-carbon building. Designed and built by Net Zero Building, the block is fully powered by electricity removing the need for a gas supply. The annual electricity consumption is around 30kWh per m2 per annum as opposed to 120kWh for a traditionally built alternative. This approach eliminates energy bills and carbon emissions associated with producing the energy that less intelligent buildings need to operate. The rapid assembly of the building kept disruption to a minimum.