EB awards

Presenting the 2021 Education Business Award winners

Presented live online by celebrity host Jeff Brazier on 8 July, the Education Business Awards, sponsored by Philips, recognised the outstanding work, commitment and achievements of
schools and academies across the country

Schools have had a difficult time navigating through the Covid-19 pandemic, balancing the need for a Covid-safe environment while still educating pupils and ensuring they catch-up on any lost learning caused by the closures. What’s more, they are expected to provide quality remote learning for those self isolating. Now, more than ever, it is essential that we continue to recognise their achievements and to acknowledge the vital role schools play in helping the country to bounce back after the pandemic.

The Education Business Awards celebrates the outstanding work, commitment and achievements of schools and academies across the country. Taking place online due to social distancing measures, the awards were presented by celebrity host Jeff Brazier on 8 July.

Outstanding progress

The primary school that scooped the Outstanding Progress award was Eldersfield Lawn CofE Primary School in Gloucestershire. With just over one hundred children or roll, Eldersfield puts a range of experience based learning opportunities to good use in order to meet the needs of pupils. It has adopted the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development as a key curriculum driver, which gives a real context to the children’s learning and will enable them to make informed decisions as they move through life. After school clubs cover a range of sports and physical activities as well as helping pupils with real-life experiences.     

The secondary school that was presented with the Outstanding Progress Award, sponsored by Junckers, was City of Norwich School. Established in 1920, City of Norwich School puts its students at the heart of everything it does. Two awards from SSAT’s Framework for Exceptional Education - for Curriculum Design and Professional Learning indicate that the school is amongst the most exceptional in the country, with particular attention paid to the professional development of staff. CNS works in partnership with the London Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is home to the Norfolk Centre for Young Musicians (NCYM).

St. Mary’s School Ascot in Berkshire meanwhile was awarded the Outstanding Progress Award in the independent school sector. Founded in 1885, St Mary’s School Ascot continues to be internationally recognised as a forward thinking school for girls between 11 and 18 with superb boarding, academic, extra and co-curricular facilities set on 55 acres of land. Proud of its academic and extra-curricular achievements, the school provides each of its 390 pupils with a friendly, stable and caring learning environment.

Innovation in IT and computing

The ICT Innovation Award, sponsored by Philips Monitors, was awarded to Highgate School in London. The CyberFirst Girls Competition provides a fun, challenging environment to inspire the next generation of young women to consider a career in cyber security. A team of four girls from Highgate School were crowned the winners after beating more than 6,500 rivals in a nationwide competition - which was held virtually and saw teams of 12 and 13 year olds from 10 schools participate in a series of cryptography, logic and networking challenges to work through a fictional scenario where a number of internet of things (IoT) devices, including smart kettles and mirrors, were infected with malware.

The Remote Learning Award is presented to the educational establishment that has delivered a successful remote learning programme which has enabled students to continue to progress during the Covid-19 pandemic. Repton School in Derbyshire won the award for the commitment of its teaching and support staff, as well as a new integrated IT system, which ensured that continuity of education was provided since day one of lockdown. A pupil wellbeing survey conducted in January this year confirmed that 96 per cent of pupils reported either no or very low levels of anxiety as a result of home schooling.

The ICT Facility Award is awarded to the educational establishment that has made outstanding progress in the provision of a first class environment for the teaching of ICT and related subjects. The 2021 winner went to Smithdon High School in Norfolk. The latest phase of a £1m facelift at Smithdon High has seen students return from lockdown to a complete library redesign which includes capacity for one-to-one learning, a quiet reading area and the school’s fifth computer suite, with room for an entire class of students. Originally planned for the summer, the school saw closure as an opportunity to accelerate improvements and prepare for a growing number of pupils.

The Environmental Practice Award, sponsored by Philips Monitors, was awarded to Worle Community School Academy in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. The school has been praised across the world in a competition involving 105 nations. Climate Justice Revolution, which has grown from four pupils in 2019 to over 20, won a commendation for Social Media Champions as well as being semi finalists in the international Global Social Leaders competition involving over 600 teams. The school has also recently installed two electric car chargers.

School buildings and security

The School Building Award, sponsored by Honeywell Commercial Security, was awarded to the Broxbourne School in Hertfordshire. Completed five months ahead of schedule, the state-of-the-art Broxbourne School comprises multiple buildings which feature a range of exciting new facilities including a new indoor sports hall, 3G football pitch, a multi-use games area and a music centre, which will be available for use by the whole community.

The School Security Award went to Leighton Park School in Berkshire. With flexibility in the length of the school day the school requires stringent perimeter security all year round. Access control used at the door to the school theatre was designed primarily to give disabled individuals easy access. This door is controlled by a long-range reader which picks up the presence of the disabled individual (via a token) and opens the door automatically. The school also required barriers to be installed at the front entrance, giving controlled access permission to regular visitors as well as monitoring the flow of traffic in and out of the school grounds.

The School Safety Award went to Ulverston Victoria High School in Cumbria for its well organised and highly successful lateral flow testing programme, which has helped to break the chain of transmission of COVID-19. More than 4,500 lateral flow tests were carried out across nine days in the school sports hall - equal to three tests per pupil – which meant a huge scaling up of the school’s testing programme.

A part of the community

The Community Award, sponsored by BigDug, recognises schools working in partnership with other public sector bodies on projects that bring specific benefits to the local community. The 2021 winner was Castledon School in Essex, which, in the last two years has dedicated 144 working days to its local nature reserve. A variety of students help the local ‘happy hub’, a charity that supports the community by providing help to the homeless and people struggling with mental health.The school also runs a community cafe called Poppies.    
The School Recruitment Award was presented to High Hazels Academy in Sheffield for its methods to address recruitment and retention challenges. The school’s leadership team undertook a programme of initiatives, including mentoring, continuing professional development (CPD), succession planning and flexible working. Strong communication has been central to the success of the new flexible working strategy. Voluntary staff turnover rates have reduced significantly in the same timeframe, dropping from 12.2 per cent to 2.5 per cent in 2019 for Key Stage 1, and from 10.9 per cent to 4.9 per cent for Key Stage 2. Recruitment costs have been reduced accordingly and in 2020, just two new teachers were required.

The School Procurement Award recognises an individual project where a school has worked with an outside agency or local authority to refine its buying practices and increase value to the taxpayer. Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council / Revolution scooped the award this year. The commercial trading arm of Dudley Council worked alongside their procurement colleagues – as well as those in adult social care and children’s services - to source, order and supply thousands of items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The effort across the whole council ensured it was safe for all staff and children to return to schools, colleges and early years providers across the borough when the time was right. Ensuring that the IT provision was sufficient to allow teachers to deliver online lessons, a scheme to distribute laptops and devices to vulnerable youngsters in the borough was devised.

The School Catering Award was presented to Overdale Junior School in Leicester for making lunchtime a positive experience and increasing the uptake of school meals. Last year, Overdale Junior School became the first school in Leicester to achieve the prestigious Gold Food for Life award from the Soil Association. The school constantly promotes free school meal entitlement and strives to increase the general uptake of school dinners. Parents are invited to taster sessions and the school held its inaugural ‘Lunchtime Companion Get Together’, which gave children the opportunity to socialise and chat over lunchtime with older people.

The STEM Award was awarded to Ramsden Primary School in Nottinghamshire for its STEM Club which makes a big difference to pupils at a school in an area of high deprivation. The club is often over-subscribed, with creative activities including experiments with sound and investigating gases. The club has partnered with the BBC, the Royal Microscopy Society and local businesses, and was referenced in the school’s latest Ofsted Report.
The Art & Craft Award is presented to the educational establishment that can provide first class learning environment and modern, flexible facilities for students of art & craft. The winner was St. Mary’s School in Cambridge for offering an exceptional environment for the teaching of Art & Crafts. Junior school students now have an opportunity to explore different techniques and materials in a specialist Art space, guided and inspired by the school’s Artist in Residence. Senior School and Sixth Form students benefit from specialist teaching in Studio 47, the schools Art and Photography Centre.

Space to play

The Play Space Award, sponsored by Community Playthings, recognises the outdoor playground environment and spaces in nurseries/primary schools where innovative equipment creates opportunities for learning. Kentmere Academy and Nursery in Rochdale won the award for its investment in outdoor facilities to promote fitness, learning outdoors, wellbeing and mental health. All classes from nursery to year 2
have outside classroom areas to help promote learning and independent study / challenge areas. It provides a playing field, sports court, outdoor playing equipment including soft floor play, gym equipment, games for fun and learning, a reading hut, track, polymer climbing frame, forest area, outside growing beds, scooters, and sports equipment. Children also use this space after school at the Reading Enrichment Club, supported by ‘Reading Ambassador’ students.

Telford Priory School in Shropshire scooped the School Music Award after receiving Sir Elton John’s seal of approval for their version of ‘I’m Still standing’. The rock legend said he had been “blown away” by the school’s version of the track and had “loved” their version so much he had watched it three times, and invited them to a gig when he plays in England after the coronavirus crisis is over. Since the video was published, students have seen their story go around the world, with interest from US, Australian and New Zealand TV networks, as well as legendary music publications Rolling Stone and NME.

The SEN Provision Award was presented to Bramfield House School in Suffolk for its inclusive approach to learning. Bramfield House School takes boys from a wide catchment who have failed in several settings and who have significant social, emotional and mental health needs. The curriculum offers a range of activities not usually accessed by boys in settings of its type, ranging from rock climbing, sailing and archery to bi-annual ski trip. A school farm, horticulture area, construction and motor mechanics facilities are all on site and combine to help offers a sense of belonging as well as therapeutic approaches to building boys confidence and sense of self worth. Over subscribed for the last two years, Bramfield is now looking to expand and build in the next year.

Heathfield Junior School in Middlesex won the School Sports Award for its work overhauling its PE provision during lockdown. Many after school clubs cater for all abilities and ages, including athletics delivered by GB athletes Jonathan Barbour and Josh Grace.




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