The 2014 Education Business Awards shone a spotlight on primary and secondary schools of all sectors in the UK that are making outstanding achievements in a number of areas. Sponsored by Rathbones, the event recognised the hard work of school staff throughout the country and aimed to highlight innovative approaches that could serve as a model for all schools. The awards took place on 10 July in London’s Grange Hotel in St Paul’s and were presented by renowned sportswoman Sharron Davies, winner of two gold medals for swimming at the Commonwealth Games and of silver at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
Winners were chosen from over 20 categories, including achievement in STEM subjects, SEN inclusion, school catering and awards for outstanding progress in primary, secondary and independent schools. Among the schools that impressed our judges were: Linden Lodge School in Wimbledon, which takes a thorough approach to health and safety issues; Yorkshire’s Fulford School where sixth form students help younger learners in ICT subjects; and Burnham Grammar School in Buckinghamshire, which was awarded for its inspirational school trips.
Making Progress Bourne Westfield Primary Academy scooped the award for Outstanding Progress in a Primary School, sponsored by Elliotts Cleaning. Bourne Westfield has been praised across the board in recent months for making unprecedented improvement in all areas. Teaching, pupil achievement, and behaviour and safety were all given a top rating in this year’s Ofsted report, with the schools aim to provide a ‘fun, caring and inspirational environment’ for pupils.
The Outstanding Progress-Secondary School award, sponsored by NEC Display Solutions, went to Bishop Thomas Grant School in London. A strong focus on STEM subjects has consistently helped students at this school secure places at top universities. The Department for Education recently praised the ‘excellent progress’ made, in particular the work it does to help disadvantaged young people. Gifted and Talented Students, as well as those with SEN, are catered for in this ambitious and successful learning environment.
London’s King’s College School took the award for Outstanding Progress in an Independent School, sponsored by award sponsors Rathbones. King’s College strives to deliver one of the best educations in the world. Its most recent Independent Schools Inspectorate report saw it ranked as ‘excellent’ in every area, and last year, 14 students received a ‘perfect’ mark of 45 points in the International Baccalaureate, a result not seen in any other school in the world.
Special needs education Centre Academy in South London took the SEN Provision Award, sponsored by leading special needs charity nasen. Centre Academy teaches skills and strategies that enable students with dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, dyspraxia and other learning difficulties to succeed. Pupils are given a personalised, holistic curriculum and a range of activities including chess, sports and computer programming.
Print solutions company OKI sponsored the SEN Inclusion Award, which this year went to Corsham Primary in Wiltshire. A robust inclusion policy at this year’s winning school has been acknowledged externally through the Inclusion Mark award, and enables children to develop skills to excel beyond their potential across all areas of the curriculum.
Awarding Academies Coventry’s Westwood Academy won the Academy Partnership Award, sponsored by ESPO, one of the UK’s largest public sector professional buying organisations. Westwood works with many local, national and international companies to provide an excellent education for its students. Working with a ‘family’ of local primary schools, the school also has a clearly defined policy that aids pupils’ successful transition and provides strong support at both individual and group level.
Procurement expertise Ashcombe Primary School in Somerset is one of the UK’s first ‘flat pack’ schools and was built for less than £5 million pounds with no hidden extras due. The contractor teamed up with a local authority procurement body to help deliver the project with cast iron guarantees on quality, cost and timescale. The school was opened 18 months after initial plans were made. This innovative approach to school building procurement has seen it win this year’s School Procurement Award, sponsored by Wesleyan.
Successful recruitment policy The School Recruitment Award, sponsored by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), went to Reach Academy in Feltham, Middlesex. The winning school became the first free school to receive an outstanding Ofsted report. This was aided by a recruitment process that helped find experienced teaching staff for a school that serves a disadvantaged community.
Financial savvy for students The Personal Finance Education award aims to recognise schools that go the extra mile to prepare their pupils for life outside the school gates. St Mary’s School in Bexhill took this year’s award, sponsored by Rathbones. This year’s winner recently became a Centre of Excellence for an educational charity dealing with Personal Finance Education. Staff and students at St Mary’s will work closely over the coming years to develop inspiring learning programmes, ensuring financial education is achievable and exemplary.
Keeping students safe The Excellence in Health and Safety Award, sponsored by IOSH, awards schools that make a singular commitment to pupil safety. The award this year went to Linden Lodge, a school for visually impaired children aged two to 19. The very nature of the children’s needs at this year’s winning school means most activities are potentially hazardous, but risks are minimised and dealt with in a ‘thought-thorough’ manner. All staff work to ensure the school is a safe and happy place to be, and 10 years of ‘Outstanding’ recognition by Ofsted is underpinned by sound Health and Safety practice.
IOSH were also sponsors of the Innovation in Health and Safety Award which was won by St Laurence CofE Primary School in Shropshire. This school demonstrated an astute grasp of how to lobby both local and national government to improve the safety of their environment. After concerns were raised regarding the safety of children and families crossing roads on the way to school, the pupils in class six at St. Laurence Primary, pupils conducted a survey of local residents and were invited them to the House of Common to present their case by the local MP.
Student safety is also the focus of the School Security Award, sponsored by security systems company SECOM. Holy Trinity Primary School in Essex won for its effective response to concerns that students were at risk. Amid fears that crime in the area was posing a threat to pupil safety, this year’s winner demonstrated a public commitment to pupil and staff safety by installing electronic gates, an intercom system and 24 hour CCTV cameras. Staff here are well trained in the principles of Child Protection and every member of the teaching staff has a workplace first aid qualification.
School meals MIW Water Coolers were the sponsors of this year’s School Catering Award which was won by Abbey School in Kent. The winning school guarantees that 75 per cent of all dishes served are freshly prepared and contain mean from farms with high welfare standards and eggs from cage-free hens. It also has its own allotments, which are maintained by students from year 7.
School Building award The School Building Award, sponsored by the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA), aims to recognise schools that take an innovative approach to school design with a focus on effective learning. Drapers Academy in Havering beat the competition this year for its state-of-the-art facilities which saw the school shortlisted for an award from the Royal Institute of British Architects. The building was praised for its layered brick work, innovative indoor ‘street’, communal courtyard, and the layout of the classrooms and hallways.
Confidence in computing Ultimaker sponsored this year’s ICT Facility Award, which went to Warlingham Park School in Surrey. An investment project has transformed the winner’s IT infrastructure and provision. The new network enables fast transfer of data throughout the site, with high‑end PCs tailored to children of primary age.
The ICT Innovation Award, which was sponsored by Kyocera, was won by Fulford School in Yorkshire. The school runs ICT activity clubs where sixth formers share advice and help younger students. These include a successful after school ‘Raspberry pi’ club where pupils learn about programming.
Music Lindley Junior School in West Yorkshire was the winner of the School Music Award, sponsored by Stage Systems. Music is at the heart of the winning school, which runs a very successful choir participating in many competitions throughout the country, including the BBC’s Songs of Praise. The school also holds an annual musical showcase, demonstrating the talent and hard work shown by pupils across the board.
Encouraging young scientists The STEM subjects are the focus of a concentrated improvement drive in schools throughout the country, with many saying that students who are competent in science and technology will help shape the economy in the years to come. The Science Award, sponsored by Lab Systems Furniture, honours schools that take an innovative approach in this area.
The winner this year, Dr Thomlinson Middle School in Northumberland, challenged pupils in Science, Maths and Geography to design strategies to limit the devastating effects of flooding in the area, the results of which should make a real difference.
Educational Visits Burnham Grammar School in Buckinghamshire scooped the Educational Visits Award, sponsored by the Rainforest Café. The school operates an extended educational visits policy which is linked with local business, providing opportunities for the future as well as to enhance students’ learning. Next year, the school is planning a visit to Ghana to work within a community to help develop its sanitation infrastructure. This imaginative approach and focus on the wider and global community impressed our judges.
Sporting Achievement Chobham Academy in East London received the School Sports Award, presented by Education Business. Established in 2013 in buildings that were first used during the 2012 Olympics, the school recently received accolades for its international practice in developing independent learning in Physical Education. With a wide range of activities on offer, the Olympic legacy inspires pupils to succeed here.
Environmental school buildings Montgomery Primary School in Exeter took home the Environmental Building Award, presented by Education Business. The winning school is the first Passivhaus energy efficient school to be built in the UK and recently scooped a Building Performance award from the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers. The project also involved the construction of a 26-place nursery, a car park, sports surfaces and landscaped gardens.
Working with the community Eastlands Primary School in Warwickshire won the Community Award, presented by Education Business. A successful e-safety campaign at this year’s winning school raised awareness about cyber bullying through a play and film made by pupils. This won praise from the European Commission.