The Grange Hotel in St Paul’s once again played host to the Education Business Awards, which celebrated the very best of the UK’s education sector across 21 award categories.
While the national media is always quick to point out any failings within the sector, the Education Business Awards highlights the great work of educational professionals up and down the country. It was set up in 2006 to recognise examples of excellence in education and in the turbulent political times that lie ahead, this is more important than ever.
With 21 award categories, the Education Business Awards recognise a broad range of successes across the sector. The accolades are not limited to teaching, with caretakers, catering staff, building contractors and those responsible for procurement commended for their contributions to education.
2016 was another successful year for the Awards, which saw a record number of entries and a packed hall of education professionals gather together to celebrate their successes and the successes of their peers.
Speaking of this year’s show, Karen Hopps, publisher, Education Business, said: “It is great to see so many people come together to celebrate the great work of the education sector, from teachers, to school business managers, through to catering staff.
“As the school year comes to an end the Education Business Awards is the perfect opportunity to look back and reflect on the hard work and dedication of education professionals. This year’s Awards saw a record number of entries and we were thrilled to see so many examples of excellence in education.”
St Matthias School was one of the big winners of the day, picking up the Outstanding Progress Award in the secondary schools category, sponsored by School Business Services.
St Matthias School was recognised for its rapid progress after being placed into special measures following a poor Ofsted inspection two years ago. Under the leadership of head teacher Dean Coombes, the school has improved outcomes for its 475 pupils and is now rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted, sitting in the top 10 nationally for the proportion of lower ability pupils who gain five or more GCSEs at grade C and above.
The Outstanding Progress in the primary sector category, sponsored by ISS Education, was topped by Moreland Primary School, which has beaten off criticism by the inspectorate from 2013 which saw the school gain a ‘Requires Improvement’ rating, to achieve its first ever ‘Good’ rating. Moreland was particularly praised for producing ‘exciting lessons’ and now looks towards an exciting future as it moves to a new school building.
St Joseph’s College won the Outstanding Progress Award in the independent sector following a victory at the 2015 TES Independent School Awards. With the plan of reducing fees and increasing investment, the college has seen pupil numbers rise and was recognised for an ‘outstanding initiative’ and
a ‘strong vision’. Significant investment is paying dividends and the school now stands as an example to the rest of the sector.
Successful investment in technology
Technology is an important part of the modern classroom and can be utilised to maximise pupil engagement and attainment through innovative new learning possibilities. With the introduction of computing at GCSE, this is now even more apparent and has been embedded into the national curriculum.
Successful investment in technology was on display at the 2016 Awards, with The Studio Schools, Merseyside, picking up the ICT Innovation Award, sponsored by MakerBot. The Studio focuses on developing students’ skills and the knowledge that students require to pursue a career in the digital sector, hosting a monthly series of Coder Dojo events working with primary aged children
from across the North West. An industry mentor link shares real world experience and gauges students on a level that the curriculum doesn’t, and a monthly masterclass provides career possibilities.
The ICT Facility Award, sponsored by OKI Systems, went to Westmorland Primary School, Lancashire. The school recognised that computing and technology needed to be developed in order to engage pupils using their areas of interest and strengths, which was predominantly ICT. This led to the school investing in an iPad per child, which has allowed students to develop a new interest in specific learning. The use of iPads has seen individual academic progress in literacy, removed the threat of ‘pen and paper’, challenged traditional teaching methods, and resulting in a shared passion and enthusiasm for the ICT across the whole school, which feeds into all learning.
The STEM Award, sponsored by Ultimaker, is awarded to the educational establishment that has excelled in the provision of a first class environment for teaching STEM subjects including Maths,Technology and Sciences. It was claimed by Plashet School, London, which places STEM at the heart of its curriculum and has seen its STEM Club, run by science teacher Ann English, gain governmental praise from MP Neil Carmichael, chair of the Education Select Committee.
Recruitment issues facing the education sector have been a reoccurring theme over the past year, and the School Recruitment Award recognised the Herts for Learning Recruitment Fair for its innovative approach to tackle the issue. Held at Hertfordshire Development Centre, the second annual Teach in Herts Teacher Recruitment Fair was a huge success, with hundreds of experienced, newly qualified and returning teachers in attendance. A total of 302 Hertfordshire schools were represented by Teaching School Alliances. 79 schools had exhibition stands on the day, with the event featuring numerous CPD workshops on topics including returning to teaching, teaching in the UK for overseas qualified teachers and changing from a teaching assistant to teacher. Advice surgeries were made available for attendees with specific circumstances. The recruitment fair proved to be an excellent method to showcase the strengths of teaching in the county. One high school identified 31 potential teachers, which will all be invited to visit the school.
The Academy Partnership Award, sponsored by Ward‑Hendry, is presented to an established specialist academy that can demonstrate benefits to the community through a partnership with an existing establishment, be it another school university or private sector organisation.
This year Brighton Aldridge Community Academy, East Sussex claimed the award for the way it uniquely partners industry and education through the Brighton Digital Media Academy. Students from across the city can access this unique programme through both Brighton Aldridge Community Academy and Portslade Aldridge Community Academy, and learn from a curriculum which is representative of the diversity of this vibrant industry. The partnership acts as inspiration for pupils who can gain an insight into the workings of partner organisations, such as Brighton Youth Film Festival and BrightonFilm School. Close links exist between industry and education, resulting in a truly unique partnership which will ensure that the city’s creative and digital industry needs are fully met.
Following the event, Karen Hopps added: “I would like to congratulate all of the well deserved winners, but also those commended for their fantastic contributions. Thank you to everyone who attended and we encourage all schools to share their successes with us so we can continue to recognise the excellent work being done in schools across the UK.”
The full list of Education Business Awards 2016 winners:
School Recruitment Award, sponsored by eTeach: Herts for Learning - Recruitment fair
Music Award: Lindley Junior School, Huddersfield
Sports Award, sponsored by Technogym: Ellesmere College, Shropshire
Community Award, sponsored by Fairtrade Vending: Shrewsbury High School, Shropshire
Art & Craft Award: University Church of England Academy Ellesmere Port