Shortlist Spotlight

The Communication Award

Alsop High School

Alsop High School has indeed shown that it is the ‘beating heart of the community’ throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with its truly inspirational ‘Together 2020’ strategy.

Alsop’s aim was to promote a culture that challenged low expectations and focused on life-long learning on the road to excellence.

Using YouTube to publish various collective worships during a time when churches were closed or restricted, Alsop conveyed messages of hope, kinship and joy. Reaching literally tens of thousands of viewers across the country, these videos were both moving and relevant.

All the while, Alsop worked tirelessly to disseminate instant positive messages and photos about its school and community as well as working with local media.


Gateacre School

Gateacre School’s communication has truly gone into overdrive this last year as they utilised as many forms as possible, from ramped up weekly social media posts to old fashioned face-to-face, a vital correspondence at the best of times but crucial, and even unique, during the pandemic.

In order to gather the relevant information for teacher-student-parent meetings, Gateacre introduced an app for parents to use resulting in a much easier process. The app was even environmentally friendly as 80% of pupils were registered without the use of paper.

As well as this, the school introduced a particularly clever initiative on its website – a Transition Zone. This was a friendly place for new students and parents to ask questions to current students which helped alleviate any fears or anxieties. A Sound Map was also included to accommodate students with autism.

Gateacre received local and national attention when they became the first school in Liverpool to host the lateral flow pilot testing. BBC North West, ITV Granada Reports, Channel 4 News, BBC Radio Merseyside and BBC Radio Nottingham all covered Gateacre representing Liverpool during this vitally important scheme.


Maricourt Catholic High School and Sixth Form Centre

By coordinating with pupils, parents, governors and teachers to name just a few, Maricourt ensured that the right audience were being reached across all of its social media platforms. These included Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and even TikTok. This impressive research and specialised approach resulted in more engagement from students and parents.

The professional approach also included a focus on brand, colour schemes, hashtags and font in order for the school’s message to really standout and reach thousands upon thousands of stakeholders across all platforms.

It wasn’t all cold, hard data however, as the content flourished too. Whether it was a celebration of former pupils, inspirational stories or interaction with primary schools to pack a real emotional punch, Maricourt had a social media presence that would put some media companies to shame.


The Academy St Francis of Assisi

Togetherness, community and faith are a key ethos of The Academy St Francis of Assisi (ASFA), so when lockdown hit, the school were quick to bring all three of these together in the best way they could. Accumulating hours of fantastic videos, the school chaplain transmitted weekly collective worships.

These recordings would include student interaction where possible and addressed important issues in the student’s lives including mental health, diversity as well as the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic and news.

What is clear is that each and every video was embedded with ASFA’s core values which will have certainly made the student’s feel closer to both each other and the school itself during a very unfamiliar time. This was highlighted none more so than during special events. The school, with students at the forefront, pulled out all the stops scripting and directing videos with the help of a drone flying over the school!

By maintaining the human touch in its communications, ASFA shone the spotlight on the ‘social’ in social media at a time when such interactions were precious.

Outstanding Commitment to the Environment

St Vincent’s School 

In order to do its bit for the environment, St Vincent’s rolled up its sleeves and got its hands dirty. After re-wilding the school grounds and growing a range of produce with, and for a number of community groups, the school received special recognition from the nation’s favourite gardener himself, Alan Titchmarsh! 

Well and truly at the forefront of teaching Visually Impaired (VI) children about environmental action, St Vincent’s has branched out to the surrounding community. Connecting with local volunteers, the school provided seeds for trees for projects at Croxteth Hall and Scouse Flowerhouse. 

As vital as this hands-on approach has been, St Vincent’s is also aware of how important learning about the environment is. This is why they arranged school trips to Great Dixter Gardens and the Eden Project in order for the students to add to their already flourishing gardening knowledge. The experts at these iconic gardens may well have learnt a thing or two themselves from the green fingered students at St Vincent’s. 


Stockport Academy 

In order to tackle the environmental crisis and protect the world around them, Stockport Academy has formed its very own club led by hardy student ecowarriors. The school’s Eco Club has already left a tangible mark on Stockport Academy’s approach to protecting the environment. 

Fuelled by sheer passion, the Eco Club have delivered assemblies to their peers about the importance of litter-picking, led a recycling programme and even built eco-bricks from donated waste! 

With militant precision and devotion, the Eco Club took charge of the school’s plastic bottle recycling programme. This included stock counts and the routine emptying of bins. A particularly clever initiative was to encourage the school to beat its own recycling records. This meant that, as the number of bottles grew (900 at last count!), so did the devotees of climate action. All thanks to the student’s Eco Club and its infectious passion and hard work. 

Careers & Enterprise Award

Archbishop Blanch School 

Archbishop Blanch School is extremely passionate about its aspirational careers education.  

Staff aim to ensure all pupils are fully prepared and equipped for the workplace and that they are able to make informed decisions about their next steps.  

The school goes above and beyond to ensure its learners are viewed as ‘employees of choice’ by local businesses, international companies and sort after candidates for HE and skilled applicants for apprenticeships. By equipping pupils with the knowledge and skills they need to help them identify their future career, through positive signposting, pupils have a burning desire to achieve.  

The impact of its careers programme has been remarkable and students are now incredibly motivated, interested and excited for their future that lies ahead. 


Rainford High  

Rainford High has genuinely gone ‘the extra-mile’ and lived its ethos of Everyone Matters, Everyone Helps and Everyone Succeeds and delivered outstanding an careers and enterprise provision for every student in Years 7 to 13. 

The school has been exceptionally innovative and proactive in combatting the disruption to its usual careers programme caused by the pandemic. Rainford High has worked tirelessly, in difficult educational circumstances, to ensure students will become future-orientated thinkers and have desirable employability skills and an entrepreneurial mindset. This includes developing an outward-facing and collaborative approach in order to expand public and private sector partnership networks. 


Maricourt Catholic High School 

At Maricourt Catholic High School, careers education underpins everything that the school does. Not only was the school a key note speaker at the launch of the Liverpool City Region Careers Hub, they have achieved 100% on all the Gatsby benchmarks and are used by local partners as an example of best practice.  

The school leads meetings, conferences and mentor other schools and new careers leaders. Its unique careers maps are circulated around other schools and have been used as a template by the Careers Hub for other schools to use.  

The school boasts a well below average NEET figure and all students progress onto a positive destinations group.  


Myerscough College 

Myerscough College’s vision for its Careers Zone has been to inspire, motivate and to help people realise that every step of their life journey is vital, build their resilience and that the college is with them all the way to that next step.  

Despite the pandemic, nothing was going to stop Myerscough delivering great careers, enterprise and employability education to all students. In February, it held its first ever Virtual Careers Fair. 

The college has also been proactive to widen careers opportunities and guidance for students who have additional learning needs or disability support. In May 2021, the first virtual Foundation Learning Progression Event was held, offering students, parents and guardians the opportunity to explore future prospects and engage with organisations that can offer specialist support and guidance. 


The Barlow RC High School 

Through The Barlow’s dedicated careers programme, the school works hard to ensure students develop valuable life skills that will fully prepare them for their future, whilst encouraging them to be ambitious and striving for excellence in everything that they do.  

The school provides extensive and exciting opportunities for all Year 7 to 11 students, via events and trips, ensuring they gain experience in a workplace and have meaningful encounters with employers. 

In addition, the school has created a Year 10 transition day to improve students’ employability skills and support pupils’ mental health and wellbeing. A Year 11 transition programme also support students during the final half term and over the summer to ensure they are confident and ready to start their next phase of post 16 options. 

SEND Provision Award

Cardinal Langley RC High School

Cardinal Langley RC High School fosters an atmosphere where all children are treated with dignity and respect.  

The school has an excellent reputation in the local community for the support it provides for students with additional needs.  It is identified as a beacon of best practice in the Local Authority and support schools across the area to improve their SEND provision.  

Supporting the most vulnerable in its community is central to Cardinal Langley’s Catholic and Lasallian mission and staff provide a wide range of interventions and support for a large number of students with complex needs and go significantly above and beyond expectations to provide a high-quality education. Cardinal Langley school really does normalise disability! 


Formby High School

The SEND department at Formby High School endeavours to promote an inclusive, supportive environment where each student can develop and progress. Staff aim to remove any barriers to a student’s learning by using a variety of interventions. 

Its ‘Reaching High’ personalised curriculum gives students with complex a bespoke curriculum designed to meet their individual needs.  The specialist academic teaching is combined with a needs-led life skills curriculum through which nurture students to excel in practical, social and emotional aspects of learning.  

The Reaching High curriculum for English and maths has been extremely successful since its introduction in 2019 and has become a leading example of personalised provision across Sefton. 


Rainford High 

Rainford High’s award-winning Core Curriculum Group is tailored to the individual need of each child in a ‘stage not age’ approach. Its reputation has meant more SEND students are enrolling and an additional CC class has been established for the new academic year. 

The staff at Rainford High have strived to remove barriers to enable SEND children to be included in all areas of school. Through PSHE and assemblies, all students have an awareness of SEND and what it means.  

A local headteacher of a primary school has even asked if she could put year 3 students’ names down for a place when they reach year 7. This is a testament to the reputation of the school for removing barriers in the way of SEND children.  

Innovative & Creative Literacy Award

Parish Church of England Primary School

Parish Church of England Primary School made sure its number one literacy priority of reading, remained firmly at the centre of its school focus during the pandemic, despite the significant challenges COVID presented.

From doorstep deliveries to playground libraries as well as streaming bedtime stories into children’s homes, they ensured that reading – the beating heart of the children’s learning – faced no barrier in getting into children’s homes.

However, as the pandemic persisted, the school had to dig deeper, think outside the box and find news ways to ensure their early work was not lost despite the impact of further school closures. What followed was remarkable, from arranging virtual author visits, staff reading stories aloud and streaming these to the children, as well as ‘The Masked Singer’ inspired virtual reading competition for parents.


The Birkenhead Park School

The Birkenhead Park School recognises that reading plays a pivotal role in enabling its students to access the curriculum and achieve success by removing any barriers to learning. The school is ambitious for all its students and has utilised innovative and creative approaches to inspire a love of reading, no matter what starting point the student has when they join the school in Year 7.

A totally inclusive and hugely successful approach has been achieved through the school’s The Big Read programme. Each morning during form time Year 7 to 9 students listen and follow along as their specially trained teacher reads aloud to them from carefully chosen books. The success of the initiative is evidenced in the results the school has achieved for its students, such as 72% of Year 7 students improving their reading ages, as well as each student now spending 2.5 hours a week reading in school.


Eldon Primary School

Eldon Primary School has set about creating the most wonderful and immersive experiences it possibly can, to give each of its children a literacy rich journey whilst at primary school to nurture a love of reading.

Understanding the role storytelling plays, the school has invested in bespoke 4D technology to transform a classroom into a space children can experience books like they never have before, as well as inspiring the children’s writing skills, by turning a derelict nearby piece of land into an outdoor learning space, again bringing to life real experiences for the children.

The challenges of lockdown did not stop Eldon’s passion for all things literacy, the school continued to find new and innovative ways to ensure speaking, listening, reading and writing remained at its core throughout the pandemic.

Outstanding Commitment to STEM

Winstanley College

Boasting over 1000 students studying a STEM subject, Winstanley College certainly backs up its claim of recognising the value that STEM subjects play locally, nationally and globally.

Committed to ensure students’ experience of STEM extends beyond the classroom, the college delivers a successful, enviable, and extensive enrichment programme, providing career-focused opportunities as well as a wide variety of hands-on projects.

Such is Winstanley’s outstanding commitment to STEM, it has been able to achieve an incredible success rate in the progression of its students to university to study STEM subjects (500 at the last count), as well as helping students secure prestigious apprenticeships.

When COVID happened and finding STEM-based work placements for students became difficult, the college utilised volunteering opportunities at vaccine centres to make sure its students still got the experience needed for their university applications.


Sandbach High School

If you want to join a STEM club, Sandbach High School is the place to go. The school offers its students a staggering number of different STEM clubs, activities, and competitions. It has also managed to ensure that during COVID, successful virtual versions were delivered.

The extensive range of STEM competitions provides opportunities for students to tackle challenges and solve problems through science, technology, engineering or mathematics, allowing its students to think critically and work autonomously as well as to work together in teams, strengthening collaborative and social skills. As a result of its outstanding commitment the school has achieved amazing success in competitions.

The school continually invests in its STEM provision through focused recruitment, and strategically investing in new technology as well as traditional machinery.


Eldon Primary School

It’s full STEAM ahead at Eldon Primary School, with its 100% commitment to bring STEAM in line with other core subjects for all its children.

From engineering to robotics, the children of Eldon have been inspired through the projects and partnership opportunities the school has been able to secure.

During the pandemic the school cleverly used video and social media platforms to set exciting and fun STEAM family challenges, thus widening the reach of its teaching and successfully ensuring the whole school community engaged with STEAM learning.

The school has also measured the impact of its commitment which has shown, amongst other things, an increase in the career aspirations of its pupils as well as increased attainment in science, maths and computing for all children.

Outstanding Arts in Primary School  

AKS Lytham Preparatory School

Some of the world’s greatest actors streamed performances via YouTube and Facebook during the pandemic and the children of AKS Lytham were no different!

Following the example of those in Hollywood, Years 3, 4 and 5 performed the end-of-year extravaganza ‘Learning to be Me!’ for parents to watch and savour at home.

The show, written by much-loved music teacher Mr Thomas, showcased the amazing talents of the Lytham children as they sang, acted and danced their way through an inspiring story of self-discovery.


Belvedere Preparatory School

At Belvedere Prep, inclusivity in the arts is at the heart of what they do. All pupils from ages 3 to 11 are given the opportunity to express themselves in the most creative ways. This ethos was demonstrated none more so than in the school’s yearly highlight in spring, ‘A Night Amongst the Stars’, a production that included all pupils.

Musicians from Years 2 to 6 worked tirelessly each week to present a programme for families to enjoy. The eclectic mix of music on display truly demonstrated the range of talent at Belvedere: ‘Mary Poppins’, ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’, ‘Eye of the Tiger’ and even the modern hit ‘Bad Guy’ by Billie Eilish. Solo performances on the piano, guitar, violin as well as performances from the choir completed an evening that wouldn’t look out of place on Broadway.

In a year when schools couldn’t always physically be together, Belvedere very much ensured that music was there as a unifying force instead.


St Peter’s CE Primary

St Peter’s is a champion of placing the arts at the soul of the curriculum for all. At a time when artistic pursuits are often considered to be an exclusive privilege of those at a higher level of social advantage, St Peter’s seeks change.

The school serves one of the most deprived areas in Bolton, with some children acting as young carers at home, and St Peter’s serves as a hub of vibrant, aspirational creativity.

The school is committed to ensuring children are given the widest of opportunities to experience authentic arts-based activities. Such determination to ensure all children are able to experience a rich curriculum is reflected in the fact that the school is an arts award provider meaning all pupils leave the school with an arts award.


Netherton Moss Primary School

At a time when the world around our children appears to be stranger and more confusing than ever, Netherton Moss seek to bridge the gap and help its pupils make sense of current affairs.

One way in which the school alleviated the anxieties around the pandemic whilst providing an historic and educational premise was with a time capsule. Students were encouraged to imagine a future world that would look back on the children’s generation as an extraordinary one that could provide answers to a confusing time. Via their own imagination, the children became empowered.

The time capsule was innovative, fresh and, most importantly, artistic. Overcoming the inevitable challenges of social distancing, the tech-savvy pupils set out preparing scripts, took part in production and even edited the final piece for future generations to enjoy and learn from.