Schools going 'to ends of earth' for pupils
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
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