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The Education Business Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of primary and secondary schools from all sectors. The 2013 event, sponsored by Rathbones, took place at the Emirates Stadium, London, on 5 December and were presented by former Olympic athlete Roger Black MBE.
Among the achievements that impressed the judges were Littleworth Grange Primary Academy in Barnsley, which won the Outstanding Progress Award (Primary) for its dramatic improvement in results, and Seaham School of Technology in County Durham – winner of the Outstanding Progress Award (secondary) – which is one of the most improved schools in England, having been out of Special Measures for two and half years now.
Tim Eliot-Cohen, investment director at Rathbones Brothers Plc, who sponsored the event, said: “We’re proud to sponsor the Education Business Awards 2013, and help to ensure excellence in the UK’s educational system is recognised and applauded. Rathbones’ support of these awards is part of our ongoing commitment to young people alongside other initiatives which include financial awareness programmes for 16-24 year olds and partnerships with English Lacrosse and Lacrosse Scotland. We congratulate all those schools who won and also, just as importantly, those who were shortlisted for the awards.”
Guildford High School in Surrey scooped the Outstanding Progress Award (Independent School), sponsored by Rathbones. Named as 2012 Independent School of the Year by the Sunday Times, Guildford High School continues to reach exceptionally high standards. In March this year, it was awarded National Teaching School status by the National College for School Leadership and is the lead school for a programme which spans the 10 independent schools and 22 academies within the United Learning group.
Withington Girls School in Manchester was also commended for its outstanding progress. Considered one of the top ten schools in the country, Withington’s results include strong performances in IGCSE subjects. 99 per cent secured A* or A grades in Mathematics and 94.5 per cent gaining the top two grades in the Sciences. A trust fund allows the school to recruit pupils from less advantaged backgrounds through means‑tested bursaries. Based on outstanding results, The Sunday Times named Withington as the North West’s top school earlier this year.
Other commended schools in this category were Westminster School, London; Brighton College, East Sussex; and Epsom College in Surrey.
Littleworth Grange Primary Academy, Barnsley, was presented the Outstanding Progress Award (Primary), sponsored by DOHR.
Now part of the Navigate Academies Trust, Littleworth Grange has seen a dramatic turnaround in results since 2009. 92 per cent of its pupils got pass grades in their SATS in 2012, compared to 32 per cent three years ago. Named as the ‘Most Improved School in the North’ last year and the third most improved in the country, close working between school staff and the sponsor will ensure future success.
Henry Fawcett Primary School in London was also recognised for its outstanding progress. As the most improved primary in London (second nationally, behind Thornhill), it was in special measures back in 2009, but strong leadership has seen Henry Fawcett recognised by Sir Michael Wilshaw as an example of best practice, and by the Deputy Prime Minister for excellent results and a proven commitment to making sure that all children can succeed. Headteacher Clare Nutall and Deputy Rachel Eckford have been instrumental in the turnaround.
Ohter commended schools in this category were Victoria Junior School, Cumbria; Ridgeway Primary School, Reading; and Thornhill Primary School in Southampton.
Secondary school success
Seaham School of Technology in County Durham won the Outstanding Progress Award (Secondary), sponsored by NEC Display Solutions. Two and a half years out of Special Measures, Seaham is one of the most improved schools in England. In 2013, 100 per cent of students gained 5A*-C, 71 per cent gained 5A*-C including English and Maths. The school has demonstrated a relentless focus on improving outcomes in key areas. Its work with Pupil Premium students has been recognised by Ofsted.
Also commended for its outstanding progress was Ivybridge Community College in Devon. This year saw Ivybridge achieve its fifth outstanding Ofsted report in a row and become the only secondary school in Devon to have retained the status since the Ofsted framework was updated in January 2012. The College posted record results this year at GCSE and A Level, with 77 per cent 5 A*–C including English and Maths and 100 per cent pass rate in the latter, with one in five being either an A or A* grade.
Other secondary schools commended in this area were Hove Park School and Sixth Form College, East Sussex; Blackburn Central High School, Lanchashire; and Tiffin School in Kingston-upon-Thames.
High performing Academies
The Outstanding Academy Award, sponsored by EXA Networks, went to Oasis Academy in Brightstowe, north Bristol. It became an academy in September 2008 and was the most improved school in the country last year. With Maths, ICT and Business and Enterprise as specialisms, increased curriculum time for the core subjects has had a significant effect on students’ outcomes. The percentage of pupils that achieved 5+ A* to C (including English and maths) in 2013 was 30 per cent higher than two years ago and the Academy has benefitted from being part of the wider Oasis family.
Also commended within the Outstanding Academy Award was Merchants Academy in Bristol, which has come a long way in a short time since languishing at the bottom of the league tables when it was Withywood Community School. Housed in a well‑designed new building, an impressive 51 per cent of students achieved five A* to C GCSE grades including English and maths last year compared with a just 17 per cent in 2008. The Society of Merchant Venturers has helped the academy forge links with Bristol’s leading firms including Bank of Ireland and Hargreaves Lansdown. Other commended Academies include Bushey Academy, Herts; Oasis Academy Shirley Park; and City Academy in Norwich.
The School Recruitment Award, sponsored by Eteach, was awarded to Kent County Council Schools. Kent is a huge county with large areas of social deprivation and parts that are perceived as remote and inaccessible. The Council has experienced difficulties in recruiting experienced teachers, particularly in STEM subjects. After reviewing the requirements, it decided on a more radical approach to campaigning through its social media channels, which promoted the benefits of living in Kent. A competition on Facebook invited teachers to explain what their life could be like if they lived in Kent, with entrants asked to submit a story and the winner receiving an all-expenses paid trip to the County. Traffic to the recruitment website at www.kent-teach.com increased considerably, with over 500 new users registering. Bolton Muslim Girls’ School and Aberdeenshire Council were also commended in this category.
Special Educational Needs
The SEN Inclusion Award, sponsored by Mike Ayres Designs, went to Walthamstow Academy in London. The Academy’s inclusion programmes are highly successful, and the gap between SEN students and their peers is reducing significantly. In 2012, 80 per cent of SEN students achieved five or more A* to C grades at GCSE – a 26 per cent improvement from 2010. The Academy has now been given a seal of approval after the recently awarded Inclusion Quality Mark designates the academy a Centre of Excellence – one of only seven in the country. As a Centre of Excellence, the academy will share its good practice with local schools. It has already identified a number of ways in which it will enhance its practice yet further including the provision of appropriate careers advice for students with SEN, and continuing to improve their voice at the academy. Newhall Green School in Manchester and Howard of Effingham School in Surrey were commended in this category.
The SEN Provision Award, sponsored by Mike Ayres Designs, was presented to Springfields Academy in Wiltshire. The Academy is a specialist sports college for children living with autism and challenging emotional and social difficulties. It houses almost 100 boarding pupils with 500 day pupils ranging from ages 7-17. In February this year it was judged Outstanding by Ofsted and in April was awarded £2.8 million by the Education Funding Agency to build 16 new classrooms. An all-weather pitch surface is used by numerous clubs within the community. Springfield’s ‘Extreme Classrooms’ are designed to embed a sense of well being in young people by enabling them to find their strengths, and promote learning outside the classroom, whether collecting mini bugs on site, Forest Schools or trekking to Everest Base Camp. Commended schools include Brookfields Specialist SEN School in Reading, and Bradstow School in Kent.
The Science Award, sponsored by Lab Systems Furniture, went to Northbury Junior School in Barking. Pupils benefit from the enthusiasm of science teacher Kulvinder Johal, who has worked tirelessly for more than 20 years at the school to further pupils’ understanding of science. Kulvinder delivers INSET and supports staff in delivering and assessing science lessons. She has developed outdoor learning programmes which have contributed to the school receiving the Silver Primary Science Quality Mark – an award scheme to enable primary schools across the UK to evaluate, strengthen and celebrate their science provision. Kulvinder won the Society of Biology’s Primary Science Teacher of the Year gong in 2012. This recognised her outstanding and inspirational teaching of science and the natural world. Commended schools in this category include the Derby High School, Bury, and Denbigh Community Primary School in Tyne and Wear.
Manchester Health Academy in Wythenshawe, took home the School Catering Award sponsored by ParentPay. In July this year, Wythenshawe’s Manchester Health Academy became the first school in the UK to receive the Children’s Food Trust Award, which recognised its efforts to champion healthy eating by engaging with students in creative and imaginative ways. The academy operates a healthy lunch box policy and works closely lead sponsor, the Central Manchester University Hospitals Foundation Trust, to embed health across the curriculum. Commended schools in this category include St Joseph’s Specialist School and College, Surrey; Ravenscliffe High School and Sport College, Halifax; Ernulf Academy, St. Neots, Cambs; Brook Green Centre for Learning, and Plymouth.
Design & Build
The School Building Award was awarded to Newlands School, Southwark. Completed through the abandoned Building Schools for the Future programme, Newlands School accommodates up to 70 boys from all over London aged 11 to 16 with emotional and behavioural problems. The new building has been specially designed in consultation with teachers, governors and students to provide superb facilities for sport, design, construction, hospitality and catering, art and the performing arts alongside specialist teaching focus on literacy and numeracy. Large windows in every room flood the space with natural light. Lauriston School in Hackney, London; and Kingswood Academy in Hull were commended in this category.
The Environmental Building Award, sponsored by SE Controls, went to Reading Blue Coat School (Richard Aldworth Building). Named after the Reading Blue Coat School’s founder, The Richard Aldworth Building is a new 23-classroom block that provides first-class teaching facilities for a number of major departments. Architects Barnsley, Hewitt and Malinson designed it to fit harmoniously with the oldest building on the school site, and a host of environmental features include a ground-source heat pump, underfloor heating and rainwater recycling. Clements New Primary School in Suffolk was also recognised as an excellent environmental building.
It is designed around a central circulation and activity area linking the learning spaces together to provide a hub to the school. The open plan, double height atrium creates a flexible social and educational environment. The building is BREEAM rated and incorporates a biomass boiler, solar collectors and a sedum roof. Landscape designers completed the site with a large wooded habitat and wetland area which forms part of the drainage strategy and adds to the sustainable credentials of the project. It was highly commended in the Community Benefit category at the 2013 RICS awards. Judges said every aspect of the building has been constructed with sustainability at heart. Abercynon Community Primary School was also commended for the environmental features of its building.
The ICT Innovation Award, sponsored by FSE Design, was awarded to Oak Lodge School for Deaf Children in Wandsworth.
The school provides specialist education for 85 students from 30 London boroughs. Visualising Sound – The Creative Balham Project is Art teacher Darryl Bedford’s innovative question: Can you see sound? In phase one, deaf students’ explored their understanding of sound and music by responding to a visit to ‘Stomp’, creating sound and movement compositions using iPads. They developed vocabulary using animation and improved understanding of sound by using digital visualisation. Phase two saw the project extended to include three local mainstream schools. Darryl Bedford was recently named an ‘Apple Distinguished Educator’ and now runs the project with Year 10 GCSE students.
Also applauded for its ICT innovation was Langley Grammar School in Berkshire. It is a mixed selective school on the Slough and West London border with around 1,000 students. Its groundbreaking outreach project, The Digital Schoolhouse (DSH), has worked with over 60 primary schools and taught approximately 4,250 pupils. In response to the feedback received on curriculum challenges, the DSH started to teach Digital Literacy, focusing on IT and Computer Science. This approach was commended in the Royal Society report ‘Shut down or Restart’, the catalyst for the IT curriculum change. As well as being able to download lessons plans and ideas for activities, teachers can book places on their teacher training courses run in association with Brunel and Reading Universities. Anson Primary School in London was also applauded for ICT innovation.
ICT Facility Award, sponsored by Experian, was awarded to Bushey Academy in Herts.
The Bushey Academy has put placing ICT at the heart of its successful learning environment. Academy staff and students moved into their new building in December 2012 to enjoy some of the finest educational facilities in the country. Everything is built around a central, three storey market place and includes an Internet Café with 30 Macs for use before and after school; a dedicated PC lab with 60 computers; a Science Mega-lab; The Cube Theatre with state of the art a/v equipment, Mac suites for art, TV and music departments; multimedia suites for photo editing; and Kindles and laptops available from the library. The end-to-end ICT solution was supplied by Viglen in a £1.8 million five-year contract.
Hastings Academy in East Sussex was also recognised for its ICT facilities. As well as being a core subject at Hasting Academy, ICT is used to make lessons and school life more engaging and innovative for students. Northgate Managed Services was awarded a £1.3m contract in January last year to manage its state-of-the-art ICT infrastructure, and children across the key stages are making great use of Apple technologies as part of its Regional Training Centre role. A new 270º projection immersive space called ‘the sandpit’ allow different immersive backdrops to be updated and created. The teacher arrives with an iPad, selects different options and the room is transformed into a desert, then with another change the students are transported to the moon or Mars. New North Academy in London was also commended for its ICT facilities.
Skilled in finance
Walsall Academy in the West Midlands scooped the Academy Finance Award, sponsored by Rathbones. The Academy celebrated its tenth since opening. Specialising in technology, science and performing arts and sponsored by the Mercers’ Company of the City of London, its latest report shows a healthy balance sheet and sufficient cash reserves which demonstrate strong control and financial management. Finance director Adrian Bowater sits on the Education Funding Agencies’ Academies finance and assurance steering group. Commended schools in this cateogry were Capital City Academy, London; St Mark’s Academy, Mitcham; Landau Forte College, Derby; and Westminster Academy in London.
Academy development & partnerships
The Academy Partnership Award, sponsored by ESPO, went to Baxter College and H.E.L.P.
Habberley Educational Learning Partnership (H.E.L.P.) arose from the demise of the Building Schools for the Future initiative. Enthusiasm generated from working together led to an ambitious plans submitted to the DfE involving a brand new Special School with residential block, a 13 laboratory science block, an early years hub with nursery provision, artificial floodlit pitches, associated car parking and landscape work. Baxter College’s contribution was to provide the land. A Joint Management Committee will oversee community usage once the development is completed. The collaboration will open up an exciting range of possibilities for employment. The Nuneaton Academy and MIRA; and Academy 360 and Gentoo were both commended in this category.
The Academy Development Award, sponsored by OKI, went to Appleton Academy in Bradford. Named after the Nobel Prize winning scientist from Bradford, Edward Appleton, £22 million Appleton Academy is the transformation of two existing schools into one new all-through 3-16 academy for 1,300 pupils. Opened in September 2012 ahead of schedule, The design of the academy interlinks three phases of learning: lower, middle and upper, in a single circular building around a naturally landscaped garden. Learners grow clockwise around the circle with the building stepping up in scale as they progress. Grace Academy in Darlaston and North Durham Academy were also commended in this category.
A focus on sport
The Sports Award, sponsored by Air Structures International, went to the Harefield Academy in Middlesex.
Based near Uxbridge, the Harefield Academy is a centre of academic excellence renowned locally and nationally for its sporting excellence. It works closely with many local clubs and national associations. The school’s wide range of extra curricular sporting opportunities are evidenced by national championship titles in football, table tennis, ice dance, quad biking and cycling, National and European success in swimming, and World success in gymnastics. The Sporting Excellence programme between the Academy and Watford FC provides opportunities for students to be trained by professional coaches and take part in matches against Watford FC’s Youth team. Basketball, gymnastics cricket and golf are also highlighted as part of the Sporting Excellence roster. Redwood School in Rochdale, and Dorrington Academy in Birmingham were also commended in this category.
Meanwhile, Ashley CofE Primary School in Surrey was awarded the Educational Visits Award, sponsored by WST Travel.
At the end of Year Six at Ashley CofE Primary School, the children’s learning culminates with an expedition to Chamonix in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. This takes place over five days where the children design ways to ensure the well-being of Chamonix through five themes: energy, food, water, waste and transport. At the end of each day children and adults alike make a pledge to improve the way they live their lives. Since its inception six years ago, two more schools have taken up the programme. Commended schools in the educational trips category were Tavistock College in Devon; Shenley Brook End School in Milton Keynes; and Abbey Manor College in London.
The Music Award, sponsored by CPS Manufacturing Co., was presented to All Saints’ C of E Primary school in Essex.
Many years of enthusiastic and dedicated singing in assemblies, the classroom and even on the way to lunch has earned pupils and staff at All Saints Primary in Maldon the Sing Up Platinum School Award. The school has also worked with its local secondary the Plume, Maldon Choral Society and the Maldon Youth Orchestra and takes part each year in the Barnados children’s concert at the Royal Albert Hall where pupils are regularly chosen to sing solo. Its Summer Music Concert showcased the depth of musical talent at the school. The Sing Up Award was presented by Maldon MP John Whittingdale at a special assembly which featured former pupil Charlotte Hume,who is just embarking on her singing career and who performed a self-penned song. Nottingham High School and Kings School in Grantham, Lincs, were also praised for their commitment to music.
The Art & Craft Award was presented to Durham Johnston School, a large 11-18 comprehensive school which has gained an enviable reputation for the skilful work of its students. This has been reflected in the school’s success in achieving a Saatchi prize and selection for the Royal Academy of Arts Online A-level exhibition. From the start of school in Year 7, students learn about visual concepts and how to apply them. Individual projects teach students how to explore and use colour with increasing skill and sensitivity. Printmaking and painting combine to improve drawing skills, and photography enables students to explore topics, ideas and observations extensively, and provides are a rich source of discussion between students and teachers as ideas progress. Trinity School in Lewisham and Burntwood School in London were also commended in this category.
A safe environment
Brentford School for Girls in Middlesex took home the School Security Award.
Based in Ventnor, St. Francis Primary School is one of the Isle of Wight’s leading new schools. It was completed in the summer of 2012 and was designed to inspire and offer pupils the very latest in resources and technology. Fire safety and security is well catered for. Full CCTV and PC-based access control systems allow monitored and restricted access throughout the school.
Monitored fire and security alarms provide increased protection – the integrated systems were provided using Honeywell Security products, including supplementary services such as induction loops and WC emergency call systems. This allowed continuity of design throughout the project, which was delivered on time and within budget.
Other schools noted for their success in providing security were St Francis Catholic and Church of England Primary School on the Isle of Wight and Samuel Cody School in Hampshire.
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