Winners of the 2023 Education Business Awards

The Education Business Awards continue to recognise and celebrate the hard work and dedication of the education sector. With new categories added this year, we take a look at this year’s inspirational winners

Schools and colleges continue to operate during difficult times. While still feeling the effects of the pandemic, schools forge ahead despite the unrest caused by teacher strikes, funding issues, workload, teacher shortages, and the cost of living crisis. The Education Business Awards continues to seek out the unsung heroes and celebrate their incredible achievements in all aspects of school life.
The 2023 Awards, which were sponsored by Viking, were  revealed on 14 June at the Royal Leonardo Hotel in St Paul’s, London, by Olympian Donna Fraser OBE.
For the first time in 2023, the awards recognised the individual leaders paving the way in the primary and secondary sectors through the EB Leadership Award, as well as innovative educational resources that can support teaching and help to enhance pupil engagement through the Education Resource Award.
Other awards were presented to those who showed excellence in catering, environmental achievements, school buildings, IT provision, SEN inclusion, and many others.    

Outstanding progress
The Outstanding Progress Award is presented to the schools that have made significant improvements in the leadership, management and educational performance of the school.
The winner of the Outstanding Progress Award for the primary sector, sponsored by Action Mats, was the Christopher Hatton School in London. The school’s well-devised curriculum is delivered by passionate teachers and a wide range of high-quality enrichment activities are among many reasons pupils continue to receive an outstanding education.
The Outstanding Progress Award for the secondary school sector, sponsored by Swiftclean, was St Damian’s RC Science College in Lancashire. Celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year, St Damian’s incredible improvement journey started in 2010 whilst in special measures. Since being rated as ‘outstanding’ in 2017, the school has continued to deliver an exceptional education for all students.
The Outstanding Progress award for the Independent schools sector, sponsored by Viking, was presented to St. Edwards Cheltenham. As well as improving academic outcomes under new head Matthew Burke, new ownership last year has provided many positive benefits for St. Edwards. Alpha Schools plans to invest £3m to improve the school’s facilities and provide additional funds to support new scholarships. Links with other schools within the group will help build on recent GCSE and A-level successes.

Strong leadership
The EB Leadership Award for the Primary Sector was awarded to Nicky Donley, executive headteacher at Kirton Primary School in Lincolnshire (pictured above) for achieving sustained success in improving educational standards for children at Parliament Federation schools. Nicky’s communication skills have enabled effective collaboration with organisations both inside and outside the school, which has become a pillar of the community.
The EB Leadership Award for the Secondary Sector, sponsored by Wella, was presented to James Eldon, principal at Manchester Academy (pictured below) for his transformation of the school, which went from ‘inadequate’ in 2012 to ‘good’ three years later. Since taking the reins in 2018, James’ leadership skills have brought numerous benefits to the local community and his ambition helps to develop pride and confidence in staff and pupils.

School sport success
Treloar School in Hampshire scooped the School Sports Award for the extraordinary lengths it goes to to ensure that the disabilities of its pupils do not prevent participation in a wide range of sports. By hosting an annual Disability Sports competition, mainstream school students can see how adaptations can be made to enable all to achieve in activities that they share an equal love for.
The School Recruitment Award was presented to the Berkhamsted School in Hertfordshire for its recent introduction of web recruitment which has allowed for the anonymisation of candidates ahead of the selection for interview stage. This helps to limit any unconscious bias or preconceptions that might arise and allows for a focus solely on the skills and experience of each candidate. It also reports on and monitors the diversity of applicants.
The Community Award, sponsored by Holmes & Partners, was presented to the Dunoon Grammar School in Argyll for its work to tackle a lack of opportunities for young people in the area. After evaluating the community’s needs and gaps in the workplace, the school facilitated over 50 skill-based courses to empower students to work in professions vital to the local economy.

Excellence in IT provision
The ICT Facility Award, sponsored by Bett Show, was awarded to Mary Astell Academy in Newcastle for the major upgrade it had to its ICT resources and infrastructure. Both ICT suites had a complete refurbishment of all PCs in both teaching and non-teaching areas. The additional purchase of 20 laptops allowed for more online learning to be delivered across the curriculum. The Academy has also benefited from the integration of dark fibre.

Meanwhile, Fulford School in York scooped the ICT Innovation Award, sponsored by Richo, for its exemplary computing curriculum which is designed from the ground up to provide pupils with the skills required to crack the digital jobs market. The recent work of students in developing Hydroheat – a prototype system which re-uses the heat produced by data centres – has impressed the CEO of Microsoft UK.

The School Security Award, sponsored by Konica Minolta, was awarded to Christ’s Hospital School in West Sussex. The complex security needs of Christ’s Hospital School in Horsham, one of the UK’s oldest boarding schools, have been addressed with a sophisticated upgrade to improve access control for its 1,350 staff and students.
The SEN Provision Award, sponsored by Nasen, was presented to the Pioneer School in Essex. As part of Pioneer’s ‘Pillars of Curriculum’, therapists work closely with classroom staff to plan and deliver lessons using a pupil centred approach. This enables them to become ‘courageous learners’ and make best progress possible. First class facilities include three dedicated sensory spaces and a state-of-the-art Immersive Room, the first of its kind in the UK.

The Environmental Practice Award, sponsored by Urbis Schreder, was presented to the Kingsley School in Devon for its environmental ethos which runs throughout its curriculum, grounds, practices and its culture. A large solar array across the school site reduces reliance on grid-provided electricity while air source heat pumps at boarding premises reduce the reliance on natural gas. This advances its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2027.
St Paul’s School in London was presented with the STEM Award, sponsored by Wella, for its provision of residential summer schools. Each year around 60 students are selected to take part in one of two summer schools in the field of materials science or particle physics. Over the course of three days, talks and workshops are delivered by academics, industry experts and nationally recognised industry bodies. In the evenings students take part in team building competitions and fun interactive science shows.
Tring School scooped the school building award for its Dobberson Building. After two years of development and a £30 million investment, the Dobberson building opened in September last year and features an environmentally-friendly design which aims to bring the outside in. The new building features state-of-the-art laboratories, fingerprint scanning and climate control.
The School Catering Award was presented to the Leger Education Trust in West Yorkshire. Launched across three schools, Leger Education Trust has replaced several carbon-heavy meat-based dishes with sustainable plant-based alternatives, helping children to make the connection between their food and its impact on the planet.
The Play Space Award was awarded to Merstham Primary School in Surrey for its new £95k play areas which were designed to synergise communication and physical development in order to help improve speech and language, balance and co-ordination. An array of bespoke features and timber play resources have been built to inspire more outdoor play.
Brigantia Learning Trust in Sheffield won the School Procurement Award, sponsored by Konica Minolta, for its cloud-based MIS systems which have the potential to make considerable savings for Multi-Academy Trusts. Brigantia, which currently has five academies under its wing, used the Crown Commercial Service framework to select a Cloud supplier which could provide potential savings of up to £60k per year.

The School Business Manager Award, sponsored by Viking, was presented to Wayne Allsopp from New College Leicester for his innovative ideas which have seen several new income strands come into the school. Key organisations like the NHS West Leicester Children’s Mental Health Team now lease office accommodation while an onsite Coffee Shop turns over £100k per year. Wayne has attracted over £11 million to improve facilities and opportunities for the students and the local community.

Educational resources
The new Educational Resources Awards recognise a new and innovative educational product or service which supports teaching and increases pupil engagement.
The Educational Resource Award for the primary sector was won by Scode for its phonics-based spelling scheme. Teaching Etymology engages children and can help them develop advanced language skills. Phonics based spelling scheme Scode covers the entire National Curriculum for years 2-6 using illustrated workbooks, slides and assessment trackers to make spelling stick through continuous practice. According to teachers, Scode makes their life easier.
The Educational Resource Award for secondary Schools, sponsored by Wella, was awarded to Pinnacle Furniture. Its Konvolve component-based furniture system is designed to make learning spaces more flexible. It allows classroom settings to transition easily and swiftly between layouts to accommodate different strands of STEAM learning and subjects such as robotics in a safe and practical manner. It is manufactured in the UK using sustainable materials.

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