TES Schools Awards

We launch our celebration of the teamwork that makes schools great
24th October 2008, 1:00am
Alan Thomson


TES Schools Awards


Primary School of the Year

Secondary School of the Year

Outstanding Special Needs Initiative of the Year

Community Involvement Award

Outstanding Leadership Team Award

Outstanding Literacy Initiative

Outstanding Numeracy Initiative

Outstanding Sporting Initiative

Sustainable School of the Year

Best e-Learning Initiative

Personalised Learning Initiative of the Year

Best School Dinners Award

Outstanding Staff TrainingDevelopme nt Initiative

Outstanding New or Refurbished Prim ary School

Outstanding New or Refurbished Seco ndary School

Outstanding Recruitment Advertiseme nts Campaign

Today The Times Educational Supplement launches its first ever Schools Awards for England and Wales.

The TES Schools Awards' guiding principle is that schools work as communities, dependent upon the close and integrated functioning of all staff.

Of course, individual excellence counts for a lot and should be recognised and rewarded, as it was in The Teaching Awards on Sunday.

Yet, at almost every awards ceremony, winners are at pains to thank the teams of people who helped make it all possible.

The inaugural TES Schools Awards aim to recognise, celebrate and reward that team effort. From the senior management team to the catering staff - all contribute collectively to the overall success of a school.

Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (pictured above), said: "Heads, teachers and support staff are the life blood of every school. I'm really pleased that The TES are launching this new competition to celebrate the fantastic teamwork that goes on in schools up and down our country.

"Of course school standards and exam results are vital to prepare young people for adult life - but I also want to see schools addressing the wider issues such as sport, school food and community involvement, which we all know are vital to help give young people the life skills they need. These new awards will be a great way to celebrate excellence in our schools in all its forms - I look forward to congratulating the winners."

To reflect the many different roles played by staff, we are launching 16 separate awards categories. Some, like Sustainable School of the Year and Best e-Learning Initiative, recognise achievement in what are relatively new areas. Others, such as Outstanding Sporting Initiative and Best School Dinners Award, are aimed at activities undertaken by school staff for generations. Then there are twin School of the Year awards, one primary and one secondary.

Our awards are open to all schools: the 25,000 maintained primary, secondary and special schools; and the 3,000-plus independent primary and secondary schools. Between them they employ more than half a million teachers plus as many administrative, support, catering and technical staff. Together they are responsible for the education and wellbeing of almost 9 million children and young people.

As the UK's leading education publication, The TES is well aware that few professionals come under such constant scrutiny as the people who work in our schools.

A degree of scrutiny is necessary given the importance of education and, where weakness is found, criticism is rightly voiced and remedy sought. But where strength is found, there are seldom fanfares and, even less often, plaudits. The TES Schools Awards launched today will address that imbalance.

"The press isn't always quick to report success," said the TES editor, Gerard Kelly (pictured below).

"Troubles, problems, crises and scandals are usually deemed to be more satisfying fare for readers than achievement and celebration.

"To judge from some recent tabloid headlines, one could be forgiven for thinking that British schools were in meltdown and the profession in turmoil. Yet, arguably, the quality of teaching and the teaching experience for most has never been better.

"That achievement is almost exclusively down to the dedication of those who work in schools, a feat that largely goes unreported. We hope that in some small way these awards redress the balance."

The aim is to make entering the awards as simple as possible and, to this end, we are setting up a four-step online entry process - complete with handy tips for candidates - that allows entrants to input written submissions and even to upload images in support of entries. Further details, including the criteria for each award, can be accessed at: www.tes.co.ukawards.

The deadline for entries is February 20, 2009. Shortlists for each category will be announced in May next year. The winners will be announced at a grand lunch in the London Hilton, Park Lane, on June 9. Winners will be presented with engraved plaques for display in their schools and will be able to use their TES accolades in future school literature and marketing.

Entries will be judged by a panel of 12 drawn from across education. Tim Brighouse, former London schools commissioner, has kindly agreed to come on board early as a judge.

Mr Brighouse, who is continuing professional development champion for the Training and Development Agency for Schools, which is supporting the awards and sponsoring the Outstanding Staff TrainingDevelopment Initiative award, said: "I welcome the TES initiative which by celebrating outstanding practice will highlight its proper role as at the heart of a successful school."

The TES is grateful to the TDA and its other sponsors: The Waste and Resources Action Programme, sponsoring the Sustainable School of the Year Award; The School Food Trust, sponsoring the Best School Dinners Award.

Alan Thomson, Deputy Editor.

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