Now in their third year, the TES Schools Awards - or Tessas - aim to celebrate this work. This year's awards attracted a record number of entries, extolling the achievements of teachers, school leaders, support staff and pupils alike. If there is one principle underlying the awards it is that success is a team effort. It is rarely the product of one person acting alone. Having said that, one individual will receive the Lifetime Achievement award in recognition of a career devoted to education.
This year, one of the categories, Outstanding Community Partnership, attracted such a large number of high-calibre entries that we decided to split it in two. One award will recognise a community partnership; the other will acknowledge community partnerships with a business link. Another innovation this year is that the judges will choose a School of Schools from the winners of the three school categories, for primary, secondary and special needs.
On these pages, some of the schools are singled out in the introductions, but do not read anything into this: the final judging has yet to take place. The winners will be announced at a gala lunch at the Park Lane Hilton in London on 8 July. We hope to see many of you there.
Nick Morrison, Deputy Features Editor
PRIMARY SCHOOL OF THE YEAR
Drove Primary Swindon, Wiltshire
Gosberton Primary Boston, Lincolnshire
King Solomon Academy Primary St John's Wood, London
Old Park Primary Telford, Shropshire
The Pilgrim CofE Primary Rochester, Kent
Ysgol Glan Gele Infants Abergele, Conwy
Drove Primary set up a youth club for disaffected pupils and has supported neighbouring schools, while Gosberton has introduced pupils to other cultures through its global links.
At King Solomon Academy, university aspirations are promoted from day one, and at Old Park pupils are inspired through creativity. The Pilgrim Primary has been named the most improved in the country, while Ysgol Glan Gele has set up a boys' reading scheme that has had impressive results.
SECONDARY SCHOOL OF THE YEAR
Baxter College Kidderminster, Worcestershire
Burlington Danes Academy Hammersmith, London
Highcrest Community School High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
Perry Beeches School Birmingham
Pool Business and Enterprise College Redruth, Cornwall
Woodside High Haringey, London
Baxter College's improvements have seen its roll double, while Burlington Danes' results have risen since it replaced a failing school. The number of students at Highcrest leaving with nothing to go on to has fallen from 25 per cent to 2 per cent.
Perry Beeches was named most improved school in the country this year, while Pool Business and Enterprise College has been recognised for supporting other schools.
Finally, Woodside High's GCSE results have improved sevenfold in five years.
SPECIAL SCHOOL OF THE YEAR
The Bridge School Telford, Shropshire
Frank Wise School Banbury, Oxfordshire
James Brindley School Birmingham
Newman School Rotherham
The New School Butterstone Dunkeld, Perthshire
The New School at West Heath Sevenoaks, Kent
Among the finalists in this category is the Bridge School, where pupils are heavily involved in enterprise projects. At Frank Wise, the focus on inclusion means students spend at least half a day a week in mainstream schools.
James Brindley gives pupils with severe medical conditions the opportunity to take part in activities outside school, while students at Newman run a commercial cyber cafe and prepare meals for the elderly.
The New School at Butterstone helps its pupils, many of whom have autistic spectrum disorders, live independent lives, and the New School at West Heath has set up a therapeutic unit for pupils who have been severely traumatised and often out of school for several years.