Tes Independent School Awards celebrate innovation

Bolton School scoops the top prize while Loughborough Grammar’s John Weitzel is recognised for his lifetime of service

Caroline Henshaw

Tes Independent School Awards 2019: the winners revealed

From an occupational therapy café to an intergenerational sports day, the Tes Independent School Awards 2019 showcased the best of the private sector.

This evening many of the leading lights of education came together for a glitzy ceremony at the Grosvenor House hotel in London to celebrate the innovation thriving in the country’s independent schools.

Bolton School claimed the independent school of the year award for not only its academic achievements but also what the judges commended as an “impressive” array of outreach activities.

At a time when many regional schools have struggled to survive, Bolton has become a focal point for the local community, hosting a variety of theatre productions and public talks while acting as the northern school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) hub for MFL and Physics.

Autism specialist Holmewood School scooped two prizes for its special needs initiative and senior leadership, highlighting the outstanding work being done in often-overlooked special needs providers.

Excellence in independent schools

John Weitzel was recognised for his special services to independent education after devoting 40 years of his life to Loughborough Grammar School in an extraordinary variety of roles.

Former students recall how he inspired them as a maths teacher and remarked on his ability to remember nearly every "old boy" he ever taught – including their abilities, interests and even parents.

His dedication was evident during the six years he spent as chair of Loughborough's Quincentenary Committee, during which he raised £700,000 for a new English and drama block.

Tes editor Ann Mroz congratulated this year’s winners, saying: “All of them thoroughly deserved their successes this evening.”

Tes Independent School Awards 2019: The winners


  • Independent school of the year: Bolton School, Greater Manchester
  • Senior school of the year: Bolton School, Greater Manchester
  • Pre-prep/prep school of the year: St Faith’s, Cambridgeshire
  • Boarding school of the year: Cottesmore School, West Sussex
  • Sports award: Surbiton High School, London
  • Marketing campaign of the year: Woldingham School, Surrey
  • Wellbeing initiative of the year: Reigate Grammar School, Surrey
  • Independent-state school partnership: Lichfield Cathedral School, Staffordshire
  • Special services to independent education award: John Weitzel, Loughborough Grammar School
  • Best use of technology award: Aberdour School, Surrey
  • Senior leadership team of the year: The Holmewood School, London
  • International school of the year: Cranleigh Abu Dhabi
  • Whole school community initiative of the year: Norwich School
  • Strategic education initiative of the year: Sandroyd, Wiltshire
  • Creativity award: Wilds Lodge, Rutland
  • Special needs initiative of the year: The Holmewood School, London

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Caroline Henshaw

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