There are number of points to consider when planning and completing your Educate Awards entry. We caught up with the judges to find out what they will be looking for this year, their handy tips to those submitting an entry and what the successful components of an award-winning submission comprise of.
- CHOOSE WISELY
“Understand and pick the correct category you are entering”, says Andrew Pimbley. It sounds simple enough, but choosing the right category to shine a spotlight on your school is an important element of the application which should not be overlooked.
Lesley Martin-Wright reiterates this point further, saying: “Don’t enter the same application for different award categories. Use this as an opportunity to be recognised for your school’s
successes, ambition, effort or aspiration.”
- KEEP TO THE BRIEF
Each award has key criteria which the judges will be looking for; whether it’s demonstrating what your school has done to improve student’s interest in sports or showing your creative and innovative approaches to guiding pupils towards future careers, following the entry instructions is fundamental to your entry success.
- LESS IS MORE
You are asked to support your submission with a word document which evidences your success more thoroughly – however be aware the word limit is 750!
This word limit gives every applicant the same opportunity to tell the judges why they should win, and as the judges point out, long-winded entries don’t necessarily mean better ones. “Don’t be shy about banging the drum for your school,” says Chris Walker, “but be succinct in telling us why it should win an award.”
- EVIDENCE YOUR RESULTS
As a school or college, when you work on a project from inception to completion, you are immersed in that task and know every detail, intention and outcome about why your project is one which is award worthy. But for our judges, the entry pack they receive will be the first introduction to your eco or science project, community partnership collaboration or how you communicate as a school.
“It’s important to remember we have not been involved,” says Emma Whitely, “So you have to be very clear when trying to get the impact and story of your project across.”
Try and think about your entry objectively, and examine whether it truly explains and provides evidence to support the statements made in the submission. For the Teacher of the Year and School Support Star Awards for example, evidencing how a teacher or staff member has gone above and beyond for a pupil or class is especially important.
- STRENGTHEN YOUR ENTRY
Providing supporting materials in your entry is the best way to overcome that tricky word limit. “Testimonials from children and young people” are a great way to add value to your application says Gary Millar, or perhaps “do a one minute video pitch‚” if you want to show off your school’s creativity.
Even something simple can transform an entry, as Emma Whitley suggests: “Quotes and thoughts from those involved always help bring it to life.”
Adding visual elements to your entry can also help, says Fiona Barnet. “Photographic evidence will really add to your submission and make it compelling to read,” she says. Including snapshots of your project or progress photos from an exciting school initiative can lift an entry and make your submission stand out amongst the rest.
- AND FINALLY…
If you have any doubts about whether to get involved in The Educate Awards, Lesley Martin-Wright urges you to enter, she says: “Do submit an application. This is one of the most empowering awards I have been involved in. Every word and every sentence conveys the importance and significance of our teaching profession – their passion, commitment and dedication to educate and inspire is simply overwhelming.”