The awards are sponsored by the Department for Education and Employment and, for the third consecutive year, BT. They were launched five years ago and are run in partnership with the National Education Business Partnership Networks of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with the backing of more than 150 companies. They can enter themselves for an award or be nominated by a school, college or and education business partnership.
Local awards are given to companies in 12 regions and there are eight national award categories. These are:
* national curriculum support
* teacher and management development
* primary support and basic skills
* out-of-school support
* tackling underachievement
* special educational needs
* support by a small business
* a consortium approach.
Entries are reviewed and judged by three main criteria: impact on student performance, partnership and employee involvement.
Cash prizes go to the schools and trophies to the companies. The national winners receive pound;500. The overall regional winner receives pound;500 and other regional winners receive pound;250. All the entrants receive a certificate.