Schools across the region celebrated after being named on the shortlist for the Educate Awards 2017.
We’ve rounded up the finalists in each award category, giving you an overview of each shortlisted school and why they were in the running for one of the coveted awards.
The winners were announced at the annual awards ceremony, which took place on Friday 17 November at Liverpool Cathedral.
- The Communication Award
Alsop High School devised the ‘Comms@ahs17’ strategy to encourage young people, parents, partner primary schools and residents to look to the school and a community hub for life-long learning. It worked with different faith traditions to demonstrate how the school can be a force for the Common Good.
The initiative consisted of a series of events, talks, visits, workshops and social action projects.
Judges’ comments: “Excellent. A communication strategy which encompasses all formats of communication including live community events, print and film.”
Formby High School’s communication team has developed a strategy over the recent years to provide engaging and timely information to parents, students, staff, governors and the wider community.
A parents’ handbook, numerous Twitter feeds, YouTube channel and blogs all showcase ‘Team Formby High’s’ innovation with communication.
Judges’ comments: “Multiple media streams covering face to face, hard copy and digital media – right across the spectrum from pupils, teachers, parents and wider organisations. Formby use every opportunity to engage with their wider community and it’s clear that this is working to create a real community spirit.”
Ta dah! Here’s our new video featuring Year 7 students telling you about their first year with Team Formby High! https://t.co/IiwKWuLL9C
— Formby High School (@FormbyHigh) September 20, 2017
Gateacre School has really raised its game this year when it comes to communication. Its new Headteacher reaches out to parents keeping them informed via his weekly Newsflash (which is made public every Friday on the school website), the parent APP, emails and texts to parents with direct web links and resources.
The school’s focus has not gone unnoticed, with one parent saying: “I’d just like to say thank you and all teachers for improving this school in terms of communication and innovation.”
Judges’ comments: “The school has placed a strong emphasis on communication through all channels, reaching parents in every which way possible including a weekly news flash. The app is a truly powerful but also useful medium for parental engagement with the school.”
- Eco School Project of the Year
Calderstones School has been running a successful Green Corner for over four years. It’s most recent project saw the introduction of a wildflower meadow. Described as a ‘truly magical’ place, 45 pupils alongside the school groundsman and ecologist got involved to measure the area, sow the seeds and build giant bug and bee hotels!
The result? The meadow is buzzing with life and is a true haven for wildlife, for pupils and colleagues. It has also made its Green Corner into a true sensory garden.
Judges’ comments: “A great presentation which included lots of information and a before and after transformation. Clearly showing a lot of involvement from the pupils across a number of year groups. A great entry for content and clarity.”
St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic Centre for Learning in Whiston is among the shortlist for the Eco School Project of the Year. Students at the school designed, planned and opened a memorial garden for its much loved head teacher Mr Campbell, who sadly lost his battle with cancer in June 2016. The garden is also in memory of Year 11 student Sean Gillies and Jane Pederson, a member of the kitchen staff, who both sadly passed away.
In November 2016 the school represented Merseyside in the RHS Green Plan Challenge for the North West region and became overall winners!
Judges’ comments: “Obviously there was a catalyst for the garden to be created and so it’s wonderful to see how creative this project became – clearly the whole school became involved in the initiative and to fundraise so that the project has sustainability.”
St Michael’s CofE High School’s Eco Alliance is up for the Eco School Project of the Year Award. The Crosby school has a thriving, dedicated eco group made up of students, staff, parents, grandparents and representatives from local churches.
The group’s achievements include the creation of St Michael’s Mere, its very own woodland walk; maintaining its school farm and the soon to open roof top terrace for students with ASC (Autism Spectrum Condition). St Michael’s has also supported campaigns such as RSPB School Bird Watch and National Waste Week.
Judges’ comments: “St Michael’s has brought a diverse group of students together in the Eco Alliance, involving the community and outside agencies in horticulture and farming.”
- Spirit of Enterprise Award
Bebington High’s School Farm is on the shortlist this year for the Spirit of Enterprise Award. The expanding school farm grew rapidly in 2016; it now has a breeding flock of 25 ewes, a six sow pig breeding unit and ten acres to graze that at peak times can have up to eighty sheep and sixty pigs.
The students manage all aspects of the school farm from the breeding to birth, from rearing to selecting the stock suitable for slaughter. Thanks to its students’ farming and enterprise skills, the farm now sells pork and lamb directly to hotel groups, Claremont Farm restaurant and The Art School in Liverpool.
Judges’ comments: “Impressive, viable business running with the High School Farmers. The school has gone one better each year to develop its reach, product range and profile. The school has to be commended for finding its niche in what is a highly competitive market, but have a very loyal following of partners.”
St Damian’s RC Science College in Ashton-under-Lyne is up for the Spirit of Enterprise Award. The college has developed a successful business partnership with National Grid through the BiTC (Business in the Community) and host regular ASPIRE days which involve over 480 pupils across Year 8, 9 and 10.
A highlight of the school calendar is the annual ‘Enterprize Challenge’ – where every form group is given £10 to raise as much funds as they can for a chosen charity. Pupils raised a staggering total of £5,550!
Judges’ comments: “St Damian’s have some great enterprise days designed to develop enterprise skills and talents. A thorough, well thought out programme of initiatives. A good all-round mix!”
— St Damian’s RCSC (@StDamiansRCSC) January 9, 2017
Gateacre School has developed the skills for life, work and enterprise this year and really encouraged students to develop awareness and an understanding of entrepreneurship across the curriculum.
Enterprising initiatives include the North West Real Business Challenge Final 2016/17; Make it in Manufacturing challenge and the school’s very own Future Focus Careers Fair which featured over 40 stalls from local businesses, universities, colleges and national firms.
Judges’ comments: “Excellent! The school has constructed an integrated programme for pupils demonstrating both enterprise, teamwork, creativity and innovation. They have achieved a great deal both educationally but also commercially from their exposure to being involved in an enterprising culture.”
— Gateacre School (@GateacreSchool) February 14, 2017
- SEND Provision Award
Alsop High School launched #ANG17, an innovative way to support the health, well-being and education of SEND students and prepare them for adult life. #ANG17 provides the opportunity to make friends and deal more confidently and calmly with the trials and tribulations of school life and secondary school transition.
One Year 7 parent said: “The SEND Department has been extremely helpful and understanding when supporting our son, helping him settle into secondary school.”
Judges’ comments: “Alsop’s project is innovative and successful. Just ask one parent who said: “Our daughter has come on leaps and bounds.” The application itself outlined their excellence around SEN provision in their school. I found it informative and enlightening.”
Finch Woods Academy in Halewood is up for the SEND Provision Award. Opened in 2014, the Academy has transformed the education provision in Knowsley for pupils with social, emotional, mental health and behavioural difficulties.
The school is situated in Halewood but as the only SEMH school in the borough it serves pupils from across Knowsley including Kirkby, Huyton, Whiston & Prescot.
Notable areas of success include whole school attendance has increased by 20%; 60% of pupils leave with at least two GCSE Grade A*-C grades and 100% of pupils achieve Functional Skills English and Maths qualifications.
Judges’ comments: “Achievement Up. Attendance Up. Opportunities Up. A special school in every sense. There are huge improvements in the attainment of their pupils, and from their website you can see the stretch in terms of extra-curricular activities. Even the school dog gets a mention!”
Clare Mount Specialist Sports College in Moreton, Wirral is shortlisted in the SEND Provision category. Winners of last year’s Outstanding Commitment to Sport Award, the school has been recognised this year for going from strength to strength.
The school started the year with record exam results, 58% of pupils achieved 5 or more GCSEs or equivalent, an improvement of 26% from the previous year. To round off a great year, Clare Mount received an Outstanding Ofsted inspection which praised the school’s teaching staff.
Judges’ comments: “An already award winning school developing pupils through sport. The addition of the community cafe is also key in developing life skills. Using sports and physical experiences they stretch the imagination of their pupils as well as providing everyday experiences to learn more about life.”
Orrets Meadow School is an outstanding special school in Moreton. The school impressed judges with its innovative teaching which reawakens children’s interest in learning and builds confidence and self-esteem.
Children leave Orrets having made excellent progress and many return to mainstream education with the skills and confidence to succeed. Each year many no longer needed a Statement or EHCP due to the amount of progress they have made.
In the words of one parent, “I will forever hold the school and staff in the highest regard. OM has not only helped my son’s education but it has totally transformed all our lives and I will be forever grateful.”
Judges’ comments: “I loved Orrets Meadow’s approach which seemed nurturing but also stretching for each and every pupil. The parental feedback was simply stunning and moving to read. Would every school receive such praise?”
Whitefield Primary School is an extremely inclusive school with national Flagship school status with the Inclusion Quality Mark. It has a wide range of interventions for pupils and aims to stay at the forefront of the latest methods and strategies to support SEN pupils.
Over the past academic year, staff have run the high quality Talk Boost and Early Talk Boost interventions to boost speech and language skills by up to 18 months within an 8 week programme.
Judges’ comments: “Whitefield proves that it is a highly inclusive school committed to understanding the needs of its pupils. I loved the range of interventions used and its appetite for staying at the forefront of the latest methods and strategies to support SEN pupils – fantastic!”
- Innovative and Creative Literacy Award
Middlefield Community Primary School’s ‘Chatterboxes’ project was introduced to dramatically raise standards in English at the school. Designed and implemented by assistant headteacher Mrs Karen Crichton, Chatterboxes is an innovative and creative approach to the teaching and learning process.
The impact of Chatterboxes has been nothing less than transformational. In 2011, Middlefield was significantly below national in APS scores for Reading but by 2015 the school was significantly above national at +2.1. In 2016, the school was within the top 10% of all schools for its reading progress score.
Judges’ comments: “The school’s innovative Chatterboxes reading and writing curriculum has dramatically raised standards and substantially increased attainment rates for the pupils. The trend from 2014 to today is exemplary – it’s impressive and successful.”
St Damian’s RC Science College is shortlisted for the Innovative and Creative Literacy Award. In 2016, its English department was recognised as ‘English Team of the Year’ at the national TES Schools Awards. The department has worked tirelessly to improve standards within her school. This has been rewarded with successive increases in pupil results with peaks in the last three years of 82% A*-C English Language and 88% A*-C English Literature, with progression rates of 80% and 87% respectively – significantly above National Average.
Judges’ comments: “As is evidenced by other recent awards, St Damian’s is setting the pace in terms of their approach to literacy. Children are improving across the board, they have outstanding results and progression rates. The English team has collaborated with other secondary schools to ensure raised attainment of the local authority.”
— St Damian’s RCSC (@StDamiansRCSC) November 16, 2016
The District CE Primary School in Newton Le Willows is shortlisted for the Innovative and Creative Literacy Award which the school won back in 2015. Its pioneering ‘Reading is STEMsational’ project set out to develop boys’ reading with a focus on STEM subjects. The impact of the project has been vast – 77% of Key Stage 2 boys reported that STEM year has encouraged them to read more.
Judges’ comments: “An inventive project designed to engage pupils in literacy through a clever mix of STEM and writing. The STEMsational project was a great idea with great results. And passing on the love of books embraces the whole school – including parents.”
St John Bosco Arts College is up for the Innovative and Creative Literacy Award. The English department at St John Bosco Arts College has had a fantastic couple of years, with the school achieving its best results in over 10 years with 85.2% of students achieving A*- C grades at GCSE and a record 93.4% of students making 3+ levels of progress.
One Year 11 student said: “I am grateful for all of the outstanding teachers and appreciate all they have done to make me love this subject and allow the students to thrive.”
Judges’ comments: “A drive in literacy pays off with the best results for the school in 10 years. The school has seen soaring standards, great results and even Beatrix Potter buns!”
- STEM Project of the Year
The District CE Primary School in Newton Le Willows has been shortlisted for the STEM Project of the Year Award. The school set out to fill the year with a plethora of ‘STEMsational’ ideas to inspire pupils, especially girls, to develop their engagement and interest in possible career aspirations. Activities included Dinosaur Week, British Science Week and links with Farm Urban.
One pupil said: “I would like to say that STEM has helped me to understand why I have to work hard in science, technology and maths in case I want a STEMtastic job like engineering, designing, building, teaching, a scientist or an architect.”
Judges’ comments: “District CE displayed an excellent whole school approach to STEM projects. I was so impressed by the range and impact of activities offered to the students not to mention the enthusiasm of the staff which shone right off the paper!”
Mosslands School in Wallasey is in the running for the STEM Project of the Year Award thanks to its inclusive approach to STEAM (including art). Mosslands aims to give students a fuller understanding of the impact STEM has on society and our daily lives. Last year, 100% of Year 7, 8 and 11 students attended one or more STEAM events, which included visits and workshops from Tomorrow’s Engineers, Daresbury Labs, National Grid and The Manufacturing Institute.
One parent said: “Finally a huge thank you to Mr Lam and the school STEM team for having the vision and determination to get the boys involved in as many such activities as they can.”
Judges’ comments: “How impressive! The range of activities that their entry demonstrated was vast – no pupil would leave that school without an understanding of the careers and opportunities that a STEM background can enable.”
— Mosslands STEAM (@MosslandsSTEAM) October 5, 2017
Calday Grange Grammar School has a thriving STEM Club and for the second year in succession the school hosted the Dendrite Race for Line Merseyside heat. The competition sees students design and create a rocket car and then programme it using micro:bit to record the speed of the car.
All the participating primary schools had the opportunity to visit Calday and work with in the school’s DT workshops to cut and shape the rockets.
Working with local primary schools, Calday organised a successful day, with feedback such as “the children really enjoyed it – hopefully we will see you next year!”
Judges’ comments: “Specialising in a robotics field, Calday Grange is an outstanding local school for what is an industry for the future. Reading schools’ feedback was lovely and emphasised the impact and success of the day.”
- Outstanding Arts in Primary School
Bedford Primary in Bootle is in the running for the Outstanding Arts in Primary School Award. It’s ‘Layered Cake of Creativity’ project has proved to be a recipe for success, with students coming together to design, create and perform a show-stopping Finale Show.
Bedford’s Academy of Arts was established in 2016 with the objective of bringing a variety of creative and arts-based clubs to the school. Nearly 200 children are now involved with everything from set design, filming, costumes to music.
Judges’ comments: “A great submission, Bedford Primary have an interesting approach to the development of a School Production – the school shines with creativity!”
Riverside Primary School in Seacombe, Wirral has been shortlisted in the Outstanding Arts in a Primary School category for its ‘Adventure into Wonderland’ project. How do you go about improving speaking and listening, writing and attendance?
Riverside used drama to improve all areas, most notably attendance increased to an outstanding 97%. The project accumulated in a 45 minute film of their own unique interpretation of Alice in Wonderland.
Judges’ comments: “An outstanding submission. Evidence of performance, whole school involvement and parent evaluations.”
St Sebastian’s Catholic Primary School’s Jack and The Beanstalk production saw Year 5 and 6 pupils, along with ex-pupils perform a show-stopping performance to packed audiences! The pantomime had a modern twist, with children performing cameos and caricatures of teachers, presenting endless references and jokes to the community.
With praise such as “better than going the Empire”, St Sebastian’s production has raised pupils’ self-esteem and confidence and has continued to help them achieve in all areas.
Judges’ comments: “Another outstanding submission with plenty of evidence on the performance, the student response and the communities support.”
- Outstanding Arts in Secondary School
Archbishop Blanch School is shortlisted for the Outstanding Arts Award for its Beauty & the Beast Jr production. The past year, the school has been working tirelessly to ensure that its arts provision continuously grows from strength to strength.
After receiving the licence from Disney, it was full steam ahead for the ABS Performance department. The whole school production was made up of Years 7 to 13 and led by Head of Performance Miss Melluish. To fundraise for the production, the school even held a series of events throughout the year such as Beauty & the Beast movie nights.
Judges’ comments: “What a fabulous entry. Really got the size, scale and success of this production right. It seems that it was a whole school effort, very professional and commercially successful…that’s an achievement.”
The Hollins Technology College in Accrington is shortlisted for the Outstanding Arts Award for its Beyond Labels: In Young Men’s Shoes project. A group of brave, courageous and creative male students created a powerful and inspiring project exploring the issues of male identity.
Through film, a touring exhibition, photography and spoken poetry, the feedback from the project has been remarkable, with one audience member saying “You are strong men who want to share your wonderful thoughts. Keep on spreading the word and helping to inform the uninformed.”
Judges’ comments: “This is an outstanding, powerful submission which shines a spotlight on real issues young people are facing. The range of creative outputs shown such as film, exhibition and photography is impressive.”
Holly Lodge Girls’ College has had quite the year in its Creative Arts Faculty. In excess of 70,000 people have enjoyed the kaleidoscopic range of work including delivering masterclasses to Key Stage 2 pupils; exhibiting handcrafted hats at the Grand National designed by Year 13 students and working with Tate Artist Educators to create a thought-provoking installation at Tate Liverpool.
The entire academic year has been relentlessly action-packed with collaborations that will leave a legacy of skills to the participating pupils and teachers involved.
Judges’ comments: “An excellent submission showing the range of work carried out by the Art Department. An emphasis on outreach to other schools to inspire them – brilliant in its evidence by the footfall. Something for everyone and it worked!”
- Career Aspiration Award
Parish CE Primary School is in the running for the Career Aspiration Award. The introduction of its ‘Parish Careers and University Course’ encourages children to consider a range of careers or university as a future pathway. Hailed as a “fantastic project” by secretary of state, Justine Greening, pupils learn social skills, general knowledge modules and career based courses such as engineering.
Before the programme, only 22% of pupils believed themselves capable of achieving a job which would be fulfilling, interesting and well-paid, but two years later 95% of the same students had now developed the confidence and self-belief that they could gain jobs such as a teacher, doctor, nurse or builder.
Judges’ comments: “A primary with high career ambitions for their pupils which has accumulated in some great results!”
St Margaret’s CE Academy pride themselves on providing the best possible advice and guidance to students. Its holistic approach to careers provision incorporates talks, employee visits, fairs and work experience in to every stage of students’ development – The SMA Pathway runs from Year 7 through to Year 13.
Over 50 students in Year 10 have participated in the Work Inspiration Programme; over 70 students have gone on to complete work experience placements in Year 12 and The Futures Programme has enabled students to become a teacher and undertake a 10-week placement within a local Primary School.
Judges’ comments: “Greg McLean seems to have a huge impact on the careers development. Really impressive.”
With a spotlight on the social and economic decline of Kensington, where the school is based, The Academy of St Francis of Assisi set about to inspire and challenge its students to radically transform their future life chances.
Its Future Focus initiative was launched to ensure it could offer aspirational and comprehensive careers education combined with sought after employability skills. By working with local partners, the school has hosted careers fairs, provided work placements for students and received visits from LFC and Veolia.
Judges’ comments: “The initiatives the school is undertaking and achieving is impressive and important – a great entry!”
The Academy of St Nicholas’ Futures Gateway Programme is a far-reaching initiative with the tag line: “If you can dream it, you can do it”. Its annual Careers Fair welcomed over 400 local primary school children to make sure individual advice and careers guidance starts at an early age in south Liverpool. One primary student said: “I now know just how many jobs there are out there and what I want to be when I am a grown up.”
By linking with local employers and community groups, St Nicholas has developed an innovative careers and employability approach that inspires pupils of all ages to one day reach their true potential.
Judges’ comments: “Really inspiring approach – getting primary children aspiring for their future. Love the testimonials!”
- Outstanding Commitment to Sport in Primary School
Bickerstaffe CE School is shortlisted in the Outstanding Commitment to Sport in a Primary School category. Thanks to the passion and enthusiasm shown by staff, parents and most importantly pupils, the school has invested in its sports facilities and successfully promoted ‘Team Bickerstaffe’!
The launch of its running club in 2011 has been a resounding success. All pupils are encouraged to take part and the school has seen self-esteem, balance, co-ordination and team work all improve.
Judges’ comments: “A lovely and inspiring read and it’s great to see the positive impact of sport on the pupils and parents alike. Fantastic effort in getting a track up and running to help assist the schools ‘running club’. Whole school team spirit comes shining through.”
Sport is an integral part of Booker Avenue Junior School in Liverpool. They believe participation in sport breeds confidence, pride and resilience. By taking part and representing the school, Booker children learn what it means to work hard and to achieve as result.
So far this year: 81% of Booker children have taken part in at least one extra-curricular sports club; 100% of SEND pupils have taken part in a sporting activity and competition; over a third of pupils have represented the school in a competitive event.
Judges’ comments: “Excellent participation from students in all of their sports programmes. It’s great that they record and monitor participation so that they can stay on top of their level of commitment to sport. They put an emphasis on improvement of their programmes and this has obviously resulted in great success in a variety of sports.”
Plantation Primary School in Halewood has increased its extra-curricular sports clubs from 30 to 74 during 2016-2017.
This has led to even more children enjoying sport and achieving great success, such as being named National Premier League school champions on two successive occasions.
Judges’ comments: “Incredible extra-curricular programmes on offer. Really good ideas to get all pupils involved. Things such as the ‘This Girl Can’, the ‘EITC’, ‘Golden Time’ and getting local athletes involved is only going to further inspire their pupils. Appointing a PE specialist shows how committed they are to increasing participation and the level of commitment to sport”
St Oswald’s CE Primary School hosts a wide range of sports initiatives for its entire school community, including International Sports Week, sponsored walks and athletics day. Judges’ loved the school’s transition programme ‘Sporties’.
Reception children and their parents or carers are invited to a four-week programme which encourages parents and children to get to know each other and the school.
Judges’ comments: “The International Sports Week sounds amazing, as does the ‘Sporties’ transition programme! A really great entry which shows St Oswald’s is really passionate and focused on sport and increasing participation.”
- Community Partnership Award
After Brexit, Alsop High School devised a six-month programme of activities to foster community cohesion and highlight that “We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than the things that divide us.”
The initiative consisted of a series of events, talks, visits, workshops and social action projects including Justice Day; Faith Encounters; The Great Get Together and Archbishop of York Leaders Award.
Rev Canon Dr Ellen Loudon, Diocese of Liverpool, says: “FAITH 2017 has had a huge impact upon the lives of so many people. It has done so much to foster a sense of community.
Judges’ comments: “Faith 2017 was outstanding. A robust six month programme in which the school was leading the community. Faith 2017 shows who Alsop is at its heart!”
Kilgarth School in Birkenhead has developed an incredible project which is shortlisted for the Community Partnership Award. It asked inspirational figureheads from around the globe to send them a signed photograph with some words of wisdom for pupils.
The school hoped to show pupils that they do not need to face the challenges of the future alone and that they should aspire to achieve great things. Kilgarth received an overwhelming response, which led to a book being produced and a second phase of the project already underway.
Judges’ comments: “Kilgarth’s entry shows it has great links both locally and nationally. It is an excellent community partnership with links providing research and resources with a global reach.”
Another Wirral school, Woodchurch CE Primary School is also in the running for the Community Partnership Award. In 2016, the school celebrated 350 years of educating the community and marked the special occasion by running a heritage and archaeological dig.
#DigWoodchurch brought the community of Woodchurch together and discovered some amazing finds dating back to the 13th Century! The project fostered a sense of community and enhanced the school’s sense of pride towards their own heritage.
Judges’ comments: “Absolutely love their work with Dean Paton and the team from Big Heritage! This unique project brought the whole community of Woodchurch together – a lovely read!”
- Outstanding Teaching of Life Skills
Eldon Primary School is in the running for the Outstanding Teaching of Life Skills Award. When a house came up for sale next door to the school, the headteacher had an idea: to create ‘Eldon House’, a place to enhance life skills and help vulnerable families receive the support they needed.
From comparing carpet prices, budgeting meals to discussing potential hazards around the home, Eldon House has put life skills in to a ‘real-life’ context for children. Eldon House is also a valuable resource for families, with adult learning courses proving popular to develop the life chances of parents and their children.
Judges’ comments: “What an excellent testament to an innovative acquisition – the purchase of the house has transformed the children’s awareness of the world around them, even to the extent of the hazards of everyday life have been contextualised into a learning opportunity.”
Netherton Moss Primary School is shortlisted for the Outstanding Teaching of Life Skills Award for its focus on teaching children how to cook. The project explored many areas of cooking, including the financial and economical skills related to food, the growing of vegetables in their own school allotment and hosting food events for the local community.
Central to Netherton’s work is its cooking space, christened ‘Moss Munch’ by the children.
Judges’ comments: “What a fantastic project teaching a wide range of life skills. Using cooking as the main ingredient to teach pupils all about financial and economical skills. The school even has its own allotment which is a big hit in the school community!”
The Academy of St Francis of Assisi participated in a Pilot Scheme in order to adopt ‘Restorative Practice’ at the school, with the aims to prevent anti-social behaviour, measure attendance and equip young people with the skills to deal with conflict and talk about their feelings.
The impact of the project has been vast – alongside individual student successes, there has been a 50% reduction in detentions, a 0.2% increase in whole school attendance and brilliant student feedback such as: “I really believe that in doing this group that I have grown as a person and my attitude towards school has improved greatly.”
Judges’ comments: “Restorative Practice (RP) has been influential as a change management tool. I read through the narrative with interest and awe to see how much this had changed the behaviour of individual students. Reading feedback on how RP had been part of a change process was moving.”
- Innovation in Education Award
Evelyn Community Primary School in Prescot is shortlisted for the Innovation in Education Award for its brilliant initiative to promote outstanding teaching and learning across History and Geography.
The subjects have been transformed to “set the children’s imagination and curiosity ablaze” with field trips, creative role play and taking part in local community events.
Judges’ comments: “History and geography are brought to life in Evelyn CP’s enhanced provision areas, allowing pupils to take learning risks.”
Since The Academy of St Francis of Assisi’s Debate Club started in April 2015, it has come a long way. In 2016, they won the Debate Mate Regional Cup and placed 8th in the country. In 2017, the club continued its success, winning the Regional Cup for the second year in 2017.
Debate Mate has given students a platform to find their voice to become the leaders of tomorrow, by taking part in show debates and being part of European Action Against Racism Week presenting the assemblies to their peers.
Judges’ comments: “The winning “Debate Mate” team are going from strength to strength, twice winning the regional cup, a very impressive feat!”
The Hollins Technology College in Accrington is shortlisted for the Innovation in Education Award. The college’s ‘Cohesion through Creativity’ programme is shortlisted for the Innovation in Education Award.
The project gives young people a creative platform to experience different cultures, thoughts, ideas and possibilities through creative and cultural learning programmes. Pupils work collaboratively on long-term projects which have a lasting impact. Projects include Beyond Labels, Muhammad in Accrington: Inspiring Me and The Corridor.
Judges’ comments: “The Hollins’ ‘Cohesion through Creativity’ project encourages collaborative working and helps pupils engage in all aspects of school life.”
- Outstanding Commitment to Sport in Secondary School
Bebington High Sports College is in the running for the Outstanding Commitment to Sport in Secondary School Award. The school addresses real, societal problems through sport, physical activity and physical education.
It goes above and beyond to offer a minimum of two hours PE for all students and over 50% of students attend extracurricular sports clubs every week. Bebington High has many awards for its PE focus, including the School Games Gold Mark and Merseyside School of the Year by the Merseyside Sports Board.
Judges’ comments: “Excellent entry! Really promotes the psychological benefits of sport. They provide excellent extra-curricular activities and participation is very good. The school has a great ‘all-inclusive’ ethos as well as supporting their elite athletes. You can see why they have already picked up multiple awards for their commitment to sport.”
Gateacre School’s sports leaders have gone from strength to strength this year. Its student opportunities include a range of sports leadership qualifications including Junior Sports Leadership (JSLA). Sports leaders work with different primary schools on a regular basis establishing strong connections with staff and in return enhancing their CVs.
Gateacre’s Sports Leaders are now recognised in the community and regularly run events in the North West. This provides our students with the confidence and experience to demonstrate their skills but also gives them opportunities to make a difference to other young children and adults.
Judges’ comments: “Gateacre has established good links with primary schools through the sports initiatives it runs. I like how they use other subjects to integrate into PE and sport – it feels very inclusive and community focused.”
Rainford High has been shortlisted for the Outstanding Commitment to Sport in a Secondary School Award for a fifth year, highlighting its commitment to going above and beyond to its sporting heritage.
Rainford has taken part in over 200 fixtures during 2017 and has achieved significant team success in football, athletics, basketball, rugby and netball. The school also has a number of highly successful individuals including Jacob Kelly, who has just made the GB tumbling team.
Judges’ comments: “Hard to argue with Rainford’s continued success and commitment to sport, both individually and collectively as teams. Great student participation displayed. Also great that funding has been sought to help children with ability to progress. They have also provided their students the opportunity to travel by attempting to forge overseas links.”
- School Support Star of the Year
Linda Farrelly is the Children and Families Manager at The Academy of St Nicholas. Linda works closely with a wide range external agencies to support students and their families. Alongside this, Linda works with feeder primary schools to aid pupils with the transition from primary to secondary school.
Described as a “valued member of staff”, Linda gets to know every individual student, their personal circumstances and what support needs to be put in place. One colleague says: “She is a woman of her word and cares about her local community. Her friendly, welcoming and open-armed approach is highly regarded and it is clear to see that her ‘can do’ attitude has a significantly positive impact on children’s lives and life opportunities.
Judges’ comments: “Great nominations for Linda who works tirelessly to support the whole school community and beyond. Very strong support from a local primary head who said she is ‘a woman of her word and cares about her local community’.”
New Park Primary School’s Sara Mitchell started at the school in 2000 as a Nursery Nurse and throughout her time she has demonstrated a commitment to working and assisting children and staff across the whole school.
Sara has been instrumental in organising events such as breakfast club, a whole school reward system, Christmas dinner and Year 6 Leavers Ball. Headteacher Karen Hutchings says: “Because of everything that Sara does, every single child feels like that they are her favourite. It is true. Sara has 550 favourites! She has New Park Primary School running through her veins. Sara is AMAZING!”
— Kelly Carey (@CareyKelly1981) October 2, 2017
Judges’ comments: “Sara is very giving of her own time and has a huge range of responsibilities; the school couldn’t do without her amazing support! I think every school should have their own Sara – what a lovely read!”
Hope Academy’s Chaplain Michelle Goodwin has been shortlisted for the Support Star of the Year Award. Described as an “indefatigable champion” for students and “an enormous creative force”, Michelle impacts every aspect of school life at Hope Academy. From charity work, community events, hiking club to her chaplaincy group, Michelle is a strong and visible presence who always encourages students to engage with the world around them.
The nomination says: “It is difficult to overstate the leading role played by Michelle Goodwin in the life of Hope Academy. She links staff to students, academy to primary schools, and community to parishes.”
Judges’ comments: “Michelle Goodwin provides spiritual lead and energy to get the pupils thinking of others not just themselves. Not an easy task in secondary schools!”
Greg McLean from St Margaret’s CE Academy has come a long way since studying at SMA as a student. In his role as Data and Careers Manager, Greg has masterminded and launched an incredible careers programme to help students develop skills for the future.
From employability interviews, a world of work talk programme to organising work experience, Greg ensures that students have plenty of opportunities to succeed. Outside of lessons, Greg has managed the First XI football team to victory, being named Double Cup and League winners in 2017.
Judges’ comments: “Greg is integral to the schools’ careers support, he has launched the SMA Pathway as well as giving extra-curricular support to the sports teams. He has a strong influence on the boys in his school.”
Described as “the heart” of St Christopher’s Catholic Primary School, Fran Gaskell has been at the school for 35 years. Fran is a dedicated, hard-working member of the admin team who always goes the extra mile to ensure St Christopher’s is the best it can be.
Fran has served as a “right hand woman” for three headteachers during her time at the school and is highly respected in the school community. Headteacher Collette Denby says: “She is a true friend of St Christopher’s and has given so much without ever asking for anything in return. In her 35th year we want her to realise how much we all think of her. Fran, we are proud to call you ours!”
— Educate Awards (@EducateAwards) October 11, 2017
Judges’ comments: “Fran will be entering her 35th year at St Christopher’s in September 2017 – what an achievement! Described as the heart of the school, the entry is full of praise and her impact is clear to see.”
- Teacher of the Year
Bickerstaffe CE Primary School teacher Miss Kirstin O’Kane is in the running for the coveted Teacher of the Year Award. Despite only starting her career three years ago, Kirstin has made a big impact. She quickly took charge of many extra-curricular activities including Music and PE and is the school’s SENCO.
One proud parent wrote: “The Bickerstaffe motto is ‘We are a small school with a big heart’, Miss O’Kane has certainly took on board this ethos to another level. I understand Miss O’Kane has not changed the whole world but her actions within the last academic year has certainly changed my boys’ world, thank you.”
Judges’ comments: “Kristin has a huge impact across so many areas of school life at Bickerstaffe. The positive parent comments were lovely to read. A teacher who goes the extra mile, making sure every child reaches their full potential. Very good!”
With numerous nominations from staff members, director of maths Ruth Partington from The Academy of St Nicholas is described as “one of the most dedicated teachers and leaders you will meet.”
Ruth is committed to making a difference to the students at St Nicholas, even when times get tough she has remained truly loyal to her students. She is described as an outstanding teacher and member of staff by her peers, with a “wicked sense of humour” and most of all a belief that the best way to predict the future is to create it.
Judges’ comments: “Sheer volume of positive comments from pupils and staff shows everyone has something good to say about Ruth’s commitment to the school. Mrs Partington has gone out of her way to assist those who have struggled with the subject to go on to achieve excellent grades. A tear-jerking entry from students and staff alike for this dedicated teacher keen to change lives.”
Halewood Academy’s Maz Catterall, senior leader of English at the Academy is described as “a teacher who inspires and motivates students every lesson of every day”.
Headteacher Gary Evans says: “In my 20 years of teaching I have not met a teacher with the zeal and the drive that Maz has. She taps into the potential of each child and refuses to let standards and student’s expectations of themselves to slip.
And in one pupils’ words, her approach is “bonkers but brilliant!”
Judges’ comments: “Maz’s enthusiasm is highly infectious! What a lovely application, very good. Love what Ofsted said, that Maz ‘crackles with high expectations of both staff and pupils’. Written by the Principle, Maz’s impact in the school is clear to see, as is her creativity and dedication!”
RE teacher Suaad Hussain from The Academy of St Francis of Assisi has passionately pioneered and promoted a debating society at the school. After three dedicated years the debate team exceeded all expectations, to win the local Liverpool competitions and compete at the highest level nationally.
The debating society has become a platform for Suaad to personally mentor members of her team in terms of their academic and future goals. Staff say the students “absolutely adore her” and all the help she has given them.
Judges’ comments: “Debating is a tough area to get involvement but can be a massive life skill. This teacher would have to be inspirational! She has been transformative, tapping into the potential of each child and refusing to let standards and student’s expectations of themselves to slip. It seems that she will go above and beyond to get every ounce of progress out of a pupil, a pupil group or class.”
Student nominations flooded in for head of music Matthew O’Keeffe from The Belvedere Academy. One student said: “What he’s done with the music department is truly unique, and I couldn’t ask for a more fun, encouraging teacher to teach me what I love, words can’t really describe how thankful I am to have him as a teacher.”
Opportunities organised by Matthew for his students include performing at Light Night, Carmina Burana at the Philharmonic Hall and The Cancer Research Carol Service.
One student added: “I am not looking forward to the day when I have to leave my school as I know for sure that I will miss the Music department and Mr O’Keeffe.”
Judges’ comments: “Wow. There is a genuine love for Mr O’Keeffe! On reading this you can really begin to see why the students love this subject. He has helped pupils realise their otherwise hidden musical talent and obviously devotes himself to his job. Not only does he enthuse about his subject but he seems to go above and beyond the expectations of a music teacher.
- Leadership Team of the Year
Winstanley College in Wigan is in the running for Leadership Team of the Year. The college has created a culture of teaching and learning practices which are effective and innovative, which is demonstrated by the numbers of students who apply each year, with a 28% increase in applications since 2009.
Through its strong leadership, Winstanley College has achieved ‘Outstanding’ status, received many awards and perhaps most importantly, 90% of students are highly satisfied with their experience at the college.
Judges’ comments: “The results speak for themselves. Outstanding in every way, they demonstrate their strength in terms of leadership, determination to achieve the very best for their pupils academically and socially.”
Ormiston Chadwick Academy (OCA) is shortlisted in the Leadership Team of the Year category. Since the school opened in 2014 and took over its predecessor school (which was placed in Special Measures), the leadership team at OCA have steered it on a journey of rapid improvement.
From bottom in the borough, the school is now the 5th highest performing school in the North West and in the Top 100 Secondary Schools nationally. OCA took a school in special measures to outstanding in less than three years.
Judges’ comments: “Exceptional leadership has swiftly created a culture of high expectations. You could say ‘zero to hero’ in the context of what has been achieved by this SLT!”
Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School (TIBHS) in Blackburn is shortlisted for Leadership Team of the Year thanks to its impressive turnaround. Prior to the school’s current Senior Leadership Team (SLT), the school experienced a period of turbulence with high staff turnover and low morale.
Seemingly unfazed, the SLT team under the Principle set about leading the school forward. Through delivering a community service programme, sports coaching and more, the SLT team has racked up some impressive achievements including 95% of students gaining 5 or more GCSEs in its first GCSE cohort of 2016 – placing the school as the 3rd highest performing school nationally.
Judges’ comments: “An outstanding turnaround in the performance of the school led by an inspirational head. From a turbulent start to outstanding in all areas, already an award winning school with testimonials to match.”
— TIBHS (@tauheedulboys) July 20, 2017
- Most Inspirational 16-18 Education Provider
Alsop High School’s Sixth Form is nominated for Most Inspirational 16-18 Education Provider. Its post-16 Raising Achievement Initiative and ASEP (Alsop Study and Employability Programme) has led to significant improvements to pupil outcomes – progress levels for academic subjects have gone from being significantly below national averages to in line with national and progress levels for vocational subjects are now significantly above national averages.
In 2016 the number of pupils going to university rose to a staggering 110 pupils. Year 12 student Alex Nociarova says: “I feel Alsop is giving me more than just an education, it is helping me to become a responsible and independent adult.”
Judges’ comments: “Outcomes from Sixth Form are excellent, so much so that the provision has played a role in reducing unemployment locally. The school has significantly raised their game in the last 12 months.”
St John Rigby College in Wigan is in the running for the Most Inspirational 16-18 Education Provider Award. As one of only three sixth form colleges to be recognised as Outstanding under the new Ofsted inspection framework, the college has a tradition of success.
But St John Rigby College’s inspirational work goes far beyond inspections. Its innovative Elective Programme provides students with work experience opportunities and skills for the future. Working with employers such as UKFast and National Nuclear Laboratories, the college is equipping students with the skills to go in to employment, apprenticeships or university.
Judges’ comments: “All individuals are valued in this outstanding Sixth Form College. Outstanding achievement in all areas both purely academic but also extra-curricular activity.”
Archbishop Blanch School’s Sixth Form team provide outstanding education for 16-18 year olds through a combination of excellent teaching and learning within the classroom and enrichment opportunities to educate the whole person.
Initiatives such as the “Grow Your Own Leaders” programme and Careers Ready help to prepare students for the world of work and higher education. Over 80% of sixth form students take part in the leadership programme. Successes include student Adiyta Majumdar winning a place on the Headstart programme and Head girl Caitlin Cavanagh delivering a speech at Parliament.
Judges’ comments: “The Grow your own Leaders programme is innovative and evidently producing results. There is huge potential and talent here and certainly a school that delivers successful outcomes.”
Birkenhead Sixth Form College is nominated in the Most Inspirational 16-18 Education Provider category as the judges were impressed with the college’s values and outcomes for students. Headlines include a 99.3% achievement rate in 2015/2016. Focused on equipping students for employment, university or apprenticeships, the college offers a wide range of enrichment activities to develop its young people.
In 2016, the college was graded Outstanding in all areas by Ofsted, saying “teachers are skilled, enthusiastic, highly committed and dedicated to support their students they also said that the college changes lives.”
Judges’ comments: “An excellent entry from an impressive College. Birkenhead Sixth Form College has a huge array of options open to students with strong employment pathways.”
- Most Inspirational Secondary School
Halewood Academy is up for the Most Inspirational Secondary School Award after its remarkable journey saw it go from special measures to a good Ofsted judgement in just 24 months.
The Academy’s ‘inspirational culture’ under the leadership of Principal Gary Evans has turned Halewood Academy in to a place which “lives and breathes its mission statement: inspirational teaching for aspirational learners”.
Judges’ comments: “Halewood Academy in Knowsley has forged its way out of special measures through inspirational teaching and aspirational ambition – a tremendous achievement.”
Formby High School is shortlisted for the coveted Most Inspirational Secondary School Award thanks to its impressive academic performance; extra-curricular lessons; fundraising initiatives and experiences students can take part in.
In the words of the school, “Whether it is the students, the staff, the parents or our community partners, Formby High School is home to a diverse family of people, who possess a shared vision to create a unique, world class learning environment to nurture and showcase everyone!”
Judges’ comments: “An outstanding school where all stakeholders form part of “Team Formby”. Formby has captured the essence of delivering all-round education both academically and life skills that are essential in terms of the world of work and academic life at University.”
Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School’s (TIBHS) remarkable transformation is why it is shortlisted for the Most Inspirational Secondary School Award. Prior to the school’s current Senior Leadership Team (SLT), the school experienced a period of turbulence with high staff turnover and low morale.
In the words of Head Boy Muhammed Mohammed, Principle Mr Ibrahim’s “charisma, strength and articulate way of finding a solution from the inevitable is truly a mastermind.”
He adds: “Faith and education are fundamental aspects of our life and his careful planning of our route made us feel like we could move mountains.”
Judges’ comments: “This school has strived towards and achieved impressive academic results, as well as focusing on the life chances of pupils and those within the community.”
— TIBHS (@tauheedulboys) September 29, 2017
- Most Inspirational Primary School
Eldon Primary School in Preston is shortlisted in the Most Inspirational Primary School category. The school has transformed itself in to a thriving place for children, parents, staff and governors.
Continuously seeking innovative ways to inspire its children, the past year has seen the instillation of a radio station, 4D immersive room and the creation of ‘Eldon House’, a unique space used to enrich the curriculum and develop children’s personal skills. Health and wellbeing has also been a focus, it now offers 10 extra-curricular sport clubs per week and over 150 children participate.
Judges’ comments: “A school which really focuses on the confidence and self-esteem of the children whilst encouraging progress in learning. I love the fact that they have thought “out of the box”, not only are they delivering great results in their SATS but they have acquired new premises to extend the opportunities for their pupils. How fabulous that they are broadening the horizons of their children.”
Whitefield Primary School in Everton is placed in the top 3% of schools nationally for the progress its children make. It has supported over 150 schools locally and nationally and is now putting its model of improvement into practice at Faith Primary School.
Rebecca Lawton, senior School Improvement Officer, said: “The Leadership team at Whitefield Primary School are astounding in their resilience and determination for success. Not only do they ensure that all children at Whitefield achieve the highest results in the City at Key Stage 2, but they make school exciting and fun.”
Judges’ comments: “Previous winners at the Awards, Whitefield is a primary school that is consistently achieving the highest possible outcomes for its children. This year their application is immensely informative.
To really understand why this school is inspirational, you need to go behind the SATS results, where the outstanding quality of teaching and learning is clearly evidenced. They are passionate about giving their pupils the best start in life, educationally, spiritually and socially.”
New Park Primary School in Kensington describes itself as “relentless” in their pursuit of excellence. Despite receiving an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted in 2007, the school set about improving its ‘Teaching and Learning’ section which received a ‘Good’ rating. The ‘Teaching Improvement Partner’ (TIP) is an inspirational programme conceived, and continuously developed by New Park. In the academic year 2016-2017 100% of teachers were graded as ‘Outstanding’.
In 2016, the school also established a collaborative partnership with The Children’s University (CU) to raise aspiration, boost achievement and foster a love of learning.
Judges’ comments: “The review and analysis of teaching by the teachers themselves resulted in 100% outstanding teachers across the board. The results of their approach was clear to see, both in terms of educational performance of their children and also the enrichment experiences for the children. I am sure that this school will continue to go from strength to strength.”
- WOW Recognition Award
Hollins Technology College’s Beyond Labels: In Young Men’s Shoes project is up for the WOW Recognition Award. A group of brave, courageous and creative male students created a powerful and inspiring project exploring the issues of male identity.
Through film, a touring exhibition, photography and spoken poetry, the feedback from the project has been remarkable, with one audience member saying “You are strong men who want to share your wonderful thoughts. Keep on spreading the word and helping to inform the uninformed.”
Judges’ comments: “Moving, thought provoking and so pertinent to today’s view of mental health and wellbeing. On target in terms of adolescent boys and the difficulties they experience in growing up, labelling and seeking to find their own identity. An outstanding example of a project that addresses an issue and involves the local community and the region.”
Rainford High’s Modern Foreign Language (MFL) department is up for the WOW Recognition Award. Through a series of innovative activities and events, the MFL department has made languages come alive both inside and outside lesson time.
The department engages parents and students through events such as Spelling Bees, Easter Egg competitions and even by creating motivational CDs for GCSE students!
Judges’ comments: “A great entry which shows the real dedication, passion and commitment of Rainford’s MFL department! The team have really brought the subject alive and got the whole school community involved. Loved the CD they created for GCSE students, what a lovely idea.”
Rudston Primary School’s whole school community took part in The Art of Being Brilliant project. It aims to raise the level of happiness, confidence and resilience of every child; embedding positivity and a sense of personal responsibility into school and home life.
Children have spread happiness to the community, through random acts of kindness, sharing flowers, sweets and ‘happy bags’. The ’Art of Being Brilliant’ has embedded a comprehensive, ‘whole school’ approach to promoting the social and emotional wellbeing of our children, parents and wider community
Judges’ comments: “What an inspiring and novel idea! The 2%ers theme was fully embedded throughout the submission. It appeared that the aims to raise the level of happiness, confidence and resilience of every child were certainly derived. “The Art of Being Brilliant” is an amazing initiative to raise the levels of happiness and positivity in children promoting and teaching mental well-being from an early age.”
Holy Family Catholic Primary School has held a number of magical events to really bring the WOW factor in to their children’s learning. This summer, a reception class dug up some very strange objects…an Egyptian artefact, a Beatles CD, some robot parts, an Olympic ticket, an old Lifeboat photograph, a picture of a Victorian pier in Southport – what on earth could it mean?
The creative literacy project involved the whole school writing their own chapter for their magical time travelling train flashback story; ‘vlogging’; whole school assemblies and even staff and parents got involved. One parent said: “I have never seen my 8 year old son so enthused by learning!”
Judges’ comments: “Wonderful, exciting and magical! This was a well told story that I read fully to actually find out what happened in the end. It obviously engaged the children and the parents. Exciting project across all year groups and the curriculum.”