The accolade, announced at the institute's annual conference in Aviemore on Tuesday, is for the TESSTES Time to Care campaign. This aims to highlight the huge disparities in the educational attainment of looked-after children throughout the UK, compared with the school population as a whole.
In Scotland, 60 per cent of children leave care without any Standard grades, compared to fewer than 10 per cent of leavers as a whole.
The campaign's manifesto for change calls for children in care to be given extra tuition to help them prepare for exams, and for the schools that teach them to be better resourced. It has already won the endorsement of Tony Blair, the Prime Minister. The SIRCC described the campaign as "an example of inspirational journalism and highly deserving of our award for excellence".
Neil Munro, editor of The TES Scotland, commented: "We are honoured to receive this award, especially as other nominations came in for the Herald and the Guardian.
"The Time to Care campaign, for whose origins I have to pay principal tribute to my colleague Wendy Berliner, deputy editor of The TES, is a long overdue recognition of a very neglected group of young people. Hopefully, we have been able to put them in the spotlight and thus ensure the momentum to win them a fairer deal is accelerated."
The TES Scotland will continue the campaign by supporting a summit conference on looked-after children being held in Glasgow on September 14, at which Peter Peacock, Education Minister, will be the keynote speaker.