Schools going 'to ends of earth' for pupils

Exceptional teams honoured at glittering TES Schools Awards

Kerra Maddern & Denzil Shepheard

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By taking pupils on expeditions to places including the Arctic and Africa, staff at the Springfields Academy have gone "to the ends of the earth" to create an extraordinary school.

That was the verdict of the judges at this year's annual TES Schools Awards, which last week named the academy the overall outstanding school of 2012. In a day of double celebration, Springfields was also named special school of the year.

The academy, in Calne, Wiltshire, was lauded for its groundbreaking work with pupils, all of whom have severe behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. As well as providing incredible opportunities to see some of the most remote parts of the globe, teachers also manage a vocational centre at the school, which opened in 1999.

"Our ethos is that against all odds we can transform these children's lives; we have the desire, belief, resilient staff and motivation to do it," said principal Trystan Williams. "We have taken the best parts of learning outside the classroom and have innovated, allowing staff to try new things."

Schools and teachers from around the country triumphed at the ceremony, hosted by actor and comedian Rob Brydon.

Teachers at the secondary school of the year, Wade Deacon High in Widnes, Cheshire, have been inundated with messages of congratulations. The school was formed two years ago following the merger of two secondaries and is based on two sites a mile apart.

"It's been a challenging few years, but we have brought two large schools together and kept results high," said executive head Pam Wright. "Everyone is absolutely thrilled to have won this award. We think this will give us even more confidence. It's like a licence to go out and share and entice others to come and work with us."

Teachers at the primary school of the year, Iqra Community Primary in Bradford, have faced years of upheaval. The school opened in September 2000 as part of the reorganisation of education in the city, but burned down a year later following a suspected arson attack. Children were taught in temporary classrooms until the school was rebuilt in 2005. It is now rated "outstanding" by Ofsted.

"We were happy to be an outstanding school in our area, so to get this award is incredible," said head Shahnaz Anwar-Bleem. "We work as a team - staff, parents and children together. Everyone deserves a pat on the back."

All the TES Schools Award winners

Overall outstanding school of the yearspecial school of the year

The Springfields Academy, Calne, Wiltshire

Secondary school of the year Wade Deacon High School, Widnes, Cheshire

Primary school of the year

Iqra Community Primary School, Bradford

Outstanding leadership team James Brindley School, Birmingham

Headteacher of the year

Bushra Nasir, Plashet School, East Ham, London

Inspirational teacher of the year Lauren Dalgarno, Conyers School, Yarm, Stockton-on-Tees

Resource contributor of the year

Ben Cooper, St Paul's School for Girls, Birmingham

Outstanding businessfinancial team or initiative

Corpus Christi Catholic Sports College, Preston, Lancashire

Outstanding sustainable school or community partnership

Edwalton School, Nottingham

Outstanding sporting initiative or partnership

Portree Primary School, Portree, Isle of Skye

Healthy eating

St Joseph's Specialist School and College, Cranleigh, Surrey

Outstanding literacy or numeracy initiative

Gosberton Primary School, Spalding, Lincolnshire

Outstanding ICT partnership

Cadoxton Primary School, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan

ICT visionary in education

Dan Roberts, Saltash.net Community School, Saltash, Cornwall

Lifetime achievement.

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Kerra Maddern & Denzil Shepheard

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