TES Schools Awards Shortlist

We list the shortlisted schools and detail some of the achievements

Gerard Kelly

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The TES launched its first Schools Awards for England and Wales last December; now, four months later, after assessing hundreds of entries of an extremely high standard, the judges have drawn up a shortlist. The TES Awards are the first to celebrate and reward the professionalism and flair of teams making an outstanding contribution to primary and secondary schools in the maintained and independent sectors. The 15 categories include new facilities, innovation in teaching, leadership and community involvement. In this special eight-page feature, we list the shortlisted schools and detail some of the achievements that so impressed our panel of distinguished judges, who were looking beyond the traditional methods of measurement for examples of initiative across the board. The winners will be announced at a grand lunch at the London Hilton Hotel, Park Lane, on June 9. I look forward to seeing many of you there - Gerard Kelly, TES Editor

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Primary School of the Year

Boston Park Community Primary School, Lincolnshire

Achievements: accolades include the DCSF's International School Award. Pupils who have English as an additional language have risen from 5 per cent to 44 per cent in three years. Runs English classes for parents and involves them in the school. The success of its Personal Histories - A Celebration of Childhood Memories project led to a national launch.

Caedmon Primary School, Cleveland

Achievements: serving an area of socio- economic deprivation close to Middlesbrough, it has worked hard to address racial prejudice, community cohesion and parental engagement. Parents play a big part by working as governors and supporting school trips. Some have trained for NVQ qualifications and work as teaching assistants.

Ilfracombe Infant amp; Nursery School, Devon

Achievements: achieved well above average results despite serving an area of high deprivation and low attainment levels among the majority of pupils at entry. Strong emphasis on emotional and social development and the arts. Facilities are open to the public outside school hours. Parent school council and open-access mornings.

North Duffield Community Primary School, North Yorkshire

Achievements: in 1997, Ofsted highlighted serious weaknesses, but it was recently cited as outstanding. Despite a school roll of just 128, it has acquired a reputation for innovation in ICT, the arts, and extra- curricular provision for pupils and parents, including a trial of one of the first counselling services for parents.

Leighton Primary School, Cheshire

Achievements: staff have been involved with national developments in the teaching of geography, a DCSF project on gender, and the National Literacy Trust. It is developing local, national and international links to explore ways of teaching German through Content Language Integrated Learning, which aims to expand the horizons of its pupils and stretch the boundaries of primary practice.

Whitehall Junior School, Hertfordshire

Achievements: extra-curricular activities include a flying club. Awarded Becta's ICT mark for outstanding whole-school use of ICT, has won science and engineering awards and set up a Modern Foreign Languages form for local schools to share resources. Strong relationships have been formed with pupils' families, businesses and community figures, as well as artists and theatre groups.

Secondary School of the Year

Chafford Hundred Campus, Essex

Achievements: 780-pupil school for children aged 11-16 has moved from an Ofsted notice to improve to "a good school with outstanding features". The 12-month turnaround was achieved by focusing on teaching and learning with frequent observations. A streamlined, integrated curriculum and a staffing restructure with clear lines of responsibility were also introduced. The school moved to 59 per cent of children getting five or more A*-C GCSEs, including English and maths, from 16 per cent in 2006. A strong campus council, a wide KS4 curriculum and links with local businesses have helped push up the attendance rate to 96 per cent.

Denbigh High School, Luton

Achievements: 11-16 mixed comprehensive with 1,120 pupils, where 89 per cent have a first language other than English. Winner of DCSF International School Award. GCSE results for 200708 put the school in the top 5 per cent of schools for contextual value added; it was also rated outstanding. It has a sports academy with a route for potentially disaffected KS4 pupils to study numeracy and literacy. Every pupil follows a curriculum to develop leadership capacity.

Monkseaton High School, Tyne and Wear

Achievements: partnerships with business, education and government agencies. It has introduced spaced learning, a technique for improving long-term memory that mixes physical and academic learning. The digital environment of the school won the 2008 Excellence Award for Best Whole School use of ICT in the North East. GCSE pass rates have improved from 2005's figure of 32 per cent for five or more A*-C grades, including English and maths, to 48 per cent in 2008. The buildings are being rebuilt, taking pupils' views into consideration. The school's language courses are used by thousands of children around the world, and visitors from as far away as China and Malaysia have analysed the school's procedures.

Perry Beeches School, Birmingham

Achievements: in September 2007, the school received a notice to improve. A year later, it was a "good school with outstanding features". The curriculum is delivered through a two-week timetable balanced to ensure all students get a broad range of educational experiences The pass rate of five or more A*-C GCSEs, including English and maths, has jumped from 21 per cent in summer 2007 to 51 per cent in 2008. Staff have the opportunity to do courses at a range of levels, including MA and GCSE. A school passport has improved communications with parents and absence rates have been more than halved.

Queen's Park High School, Chester

Achievements: "good" Ofsted inspection in 2008; North West Young Enterprise School of the Year; received DCSF International School Award. Every student gained at least one GCSE and 44 per cent gained five or more A*-C, including English and maths. A pound;2 million refurbishment includes a new faculty of languages, business education and ICT. The fall in absences has been partly driven by better communication with pupils, and the school has conducted research with feeder primary schools to create a thematic, integrated approach to learning in Year 7.

St John Plessington Catholic College, Wirral

Achievements: Jim Knight, schools minister, identified the school as one of 13 high-performers over a three-year period. Forty seven per cent of pupils achieve at least 5 A*-C, including English and maths; three years ago the figure was 24 per cent. In November 2007, Ofsted described it as an "outstanding school where outstanding things happen". It has introduced an achievement plan for every pupil and parents receive a report 10 times a year.

Outstanding Special Needs Initiative of the Year

Beacon Hill, Tyne and Wear

Project: independent travel training facility built around the school has real traffic lights and puffin, pelican and zebra crossings in the car parks. Some children now have the confidence to go to school independently. The facility is used by all the special schools and five colleges in the Tyne and Wear area.

Holme Court School, Bedfordshire

Project: specialises in teaching children with reading difficulties. A learning-needs profile links issues to systematically reviewed interventions, producing a visual representation of each child's underlying strengths and needs. Allows the teacher to know which methods are most likely to help each child.

Redscope Primary School, Rotherham

Project: formed from the merger of infant and junior schools in 2005. Approximately 25 per cent of children have learning difficulties andor disabilities. Uses ENABLE programme to help children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, and a "praise pod" uses new technology to promote a culture of praise.

The Roche School, Wandsworth, London

Project: every day, six children and their parents who have been trained as coaches access the Fast ForWord program in the IT laboratory before school opens. The program trains the brain to hear more accurately and faster. Once a key threshold is passed, reading and learning ability improve.

Thomas Bennett Community College, West Sussex

Project: to motivate disaffected pupils, it created the forest schools enrichment programme for pupils with educational, social and behavioural difficulties, modelled on an initiative developed in Denmark. Offers experiences such as building fires, cooking, whittling and woodwork.

West SILC (Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre), Leeds

Project: a focus on individualised learning pathways for children with the most complex and multiple learning needs has helped to develop improved interactions and functional skills previously not believed possible. A social inclusion model where children interact with their mainstream peers has developed a circle of friends for every child.

Outstanding Community Involvement

Boston Park Community Primary School, Lincolnshire

Achievements: Personal Histories - A Celebration of Childhood Memories, a project to develop cohesion in the multinational community, subsequently launched nationally. Literacy classes for parents, daily drop-in sessions with members of the pastoral care team.

Chadsmead Primary School, Staffordshire

Achievements: works with a wide range of partners, including parents, arts groups, police, mayor, local housing association, colleges and other schools. Business secondments for the head and deputy head have created partnerships. Has also built relationships with schools in Denmark, Italy and Cameroon.

Drove Primary School, Swindon

Achievements: children from over 33 communities with 27 languages. Offers bilingual outreach programme to other schools covering 13 languages. Saturday morning language school supports up to 90 children in six languages. Bollywood dance school tackles stereotypes in the community. Works with a local historian to investigate street names in order to develop a sense of belonging.

Lymm High School, Warrington

Achievements: since supporting pupils at Qhasana High School in Mdantsane township in South Africa, has recorded 20 per cent improvement in exam results. Organised visits by four UK primary schools to counterparts in the region. Worked with a variety of partners to equip the first library at Qhasana, raising Pounds 30,000 in 2008.

The City Academy, Bristol

Achievements: community engagement and partnerships division runs an adult learning centre and a range of projects to raise school attainment. Its work on three campuses last year provided adult learning for more than 2,000 people from 60 countries. Community partnership includes lessons for parents and teams of workers to support children taking GCSEs and Sats.

The Hermitage School, County Durham

Achievements: facilities are accessible to the community until 9pm weekdays and at weekends until 6pm, used by 1,000 part-time learners in a typical week. Base for football, theatre, art, drama and many other clubs as well as accommodation for resident community groups such as Coronary Care Exercise. Business partnerships have produced work experience placements, apprenticeships and career advice for students aged 14-19.

Outstanding Leadership Team

Kells Lane Primary, Tyne and Wear

Achievements: 97 per cent attendance rate with no unauthorised absences or exclusions. Anti-bullying projects for younger pupils. Buddy scheme encourages social confidence.

London FieldsWoodberry Down Federation, London

Achievements: formed from two schools, London Fields had been put in special measures, but Woodberry Down was outstanding. Bringing them together was a risk, particularly because both schools started with a majority of new staff and new leadership teams. Results have improved at both schools; staff from both leadership teams work across the schools.

Corsham Primary School, Wiltshire

Achievements: leadership team took over a nearby failing primary school, moving it out of special measures and gaining "good" in Ofsted inspection. Expansion over two sites required the leadership team to be innovative in teaching, learning and management. Applications have risen from just three last year to 30 this year.

Clapton Girls' Technology College, London

Achievements: located in an area of high deprivation; attainment on entry is well below the national average. It has now been placed in the top 5 per cent in the country for contextual value added. A sixth form recently opened.

Hawthorns Community School, Manchester

Achievements: Ofsted marked leadership team "exceptional" with a "determination to strive continuously for the very best". Governors and school leaders work well together. Leadership is actively promoted through providing good role models at all levels and staff are encouraged to develop professionally as well as to lead in their current roles.

The Duston School, Northampton

Achievements: once the secondary with the longest-held "failing" label, last May it became a "rapidly improving school" with "outstanding and decisive leadership". Support mechanisms for pupils, staff and parents have produced a dramatic improvement in attendance among pupils and staff. Distributed leadership is integral and all staff receive personalised professional development.

Outstanding Literacy Initiative

Stenson Fields Primary Community School, Derbyshire

Project: Provision Mapping and Layered Interventions programme has raised writing attainment from 47 per cent to 84 per cent and KS2 English results from 73 per cent to 97 per cent in three years. A self-funded reading recovery teacher was put in place. Teaching assistants received training in record assessment and reading recovery. Themed book weeks, Boys' Book Club and Everybody Writes Day, have also promoted reading as a fun activity.

Ellis Guilford School and Sports College, Nottinghamshire

Project: the school's learning resource centre devised a range of programmes such as Mega-Read, the Book Cafe, Mad Manga Mondays and Blind Date with a Book to encourage personalised learning. Pupils are monitored and given literacy targets; the number of pupils borrowing books has more than doubled. All feeder primary schools now have an annual reading for pleasure action plan.

Madeley Academy, Shropshire

Project: Miskin synthetic phonics programme (usually used in primaries) involved changes to the timetable, staff and resources as pupils spent an hour every day working through sound and text. In 14 weeks, Year 7 pupils have moved from a reading age of eight years and three months to nine years and two months.

Woolwich Polytechnic School, London

Project: internet technology has been at the centre of forging international links and enthusing pupils to read and write. Hosted the Write Path collaborative writing project with 14 schools around the world. The school has used a blog, website, Skype, MSN and video-conferencing to communicate on this and other international workshops, including a shared poetry writing week with a school in Qatar.

Mile Oak Primary School, East Sussex

Project: a whole-school reading community where children become reading champions, their photos are put on the wall of readers and they can sit on the reading council. Book buses are provided.

The Roche School, Wandsworth, London

Project: parents and teachers funded and implemented the Fast ForWord program. Parents supervise their children in use of the software before school each day. There is a marked improvement in speech, literacy and overall behaviour in and out of class for mainstream and special needs children.

Outstanding Numeracy Initiative

Moredon Primary and Nursery School, Wiltshire

Project: a programme for Years 1 and 5 to improve numeracy, with targets calculated based on end-of-year results and levels. Calculation policy is displayed on the wall so children are encouraged to aim high and solve calculations. Pupils are supported to solve problems in groups and can try out their ideas with their peers, which reduces pressure. In 2007 and 2008, 94 per cent of the school's pupils achieved level 4 in Sats.

Titchmarsh CofE Primary School, Northamptonshire

Project: maths games library provides 80 games for the school's 54 children to play with at home and in school. Numeracy co-ordinator researched which games were most effective and parents and pupils gave extensive feedback on what they had learnt and enjoyed. The games have been put in categories to benefit different age groups, levels and strands. Pupils have benefited from an increased confidence in numeracy and Sat grades also improved.

Dormers Wells Junior School, Middlesex

Project: staff found that parents helped their children with homework in a way that conflicted with their own teaching methods. They produced a DVD to explain their teaching approaches to parents and showed them how to follow it.

Outstanding Sporting Initiative

Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate School, London

Project: cricket team made up of pupils, parents, teachers and members of the community is the only school cricket team in the Lords Essex league. Despite having no playing field, it won promotion to the second division last year.

Conyers Comprehensive School, Stockton-on-Tees

Project: Go Sport was established in 2003 with a goal of creating, developing and promoting sport participation for all ages - from mini soccer for tots to badminton for the elderly to sports leadership. Targeted disengaged pupils with free gym sessions.

The William Ransom Primary School, Hertfordshire

Project: activities are marketed to target specific pupils: less confident ones are given a vehicle to develop their skills while the youngest have special PE lessons to increase their concentration and ability. Young pupils are given the opportunity to become leaders, organising rotas, making session plans and leading groups.

Thornleigh Salesian College, Lancashire

Project: Thornleigh Torch Race, a 20-mile Olympic-style relay involving students, staff, parents and the community, helped to improve relations with hard-to-reach parents and improved teacher-parent relationships. The bond between home and college has strengthened, with parents volunteering to assist in the classroom, while others have joined the PTA.

Wright Robinson College, Manchester

Project: working in association with Manchester Metropolitan University, the college designed a project to raise academic standards through sport. Their studies showed that the majority of students who are physically active achieve better GCSE grades and show a significant improvement in their self-esteem and attitude towards physical activity.

St Laurence's Catholic Primary School, Merseyside

Project: St Laurence's Globetrotters promotehealth though more physical activity. Pupils were equipped with pedometers to record how many steps they take and looked at the positives of exercise and the importance of staying fit. They explored how many steps it would take to travel to cities worldwide and were rewarded for meeting targets. The project persuaded pupils to encourage their families to walk instead of using transport and raised their awareness of the importance of physical activity.

Outstanding Sustainable School of the Year

Forest Way School, Leicestershire

Project: the semi-rural location of this special school has been incorporated into its design and bio-diversity. Landscape provides a habitat for a range of species, a managed woodland, grass composting and access paths around the site. Play facilities include recycled equipment and the school has a number of specially commissioned works of art from collaborative projects with local artists.

Red Hill CofE Primary School, Worcestershire

Project: when the school had to be demolished, it was decided to use the rebuild as a vehicle for community development. It includes a green roof, geo-thermal heating, an eco-friendly ventilation system and a sustainable urban drainage system. An eco-week, a gardening club, fair trade working group and chicken club have encouraged enthusiasm for sustainability.

St John Plessingham Catholic College, Wirral

Project: the student voice devised Project 360 in an attempt to offset energy costs and CO2 emissions incurred from investment in ICT infrastructure. An energy team analysed data, and staff and pupils were encouraged to change their behaviour through posters, stickers on electrical appliances and emails. The project made 15 times more savings in six months than hoped for in a year.

The Skinners' School, Kent

Project: an eco-committee sets achievable weekly tasks for the school and works with the school bursar to find ways of making money and saving waste. The school hosts meetings for other sustainable schools to share good environmental practice and it has developed links with Rwanda and Commonwork, a group of rural enterprises and educational charities. Many energy saving features have been installed, including a mini wind turbine.

Turners Hill Primary School, West Sussex

Project: recycling material is composted. There are two wind turbines, photovoltaic roof panels and a three-acre site with 1,750 planted trees. An outside classroom has vegetable gardens, chickens and a wildlife garden. Pupils are taught about environmentally friendly behaviour in their citizenship education, and an eco committee has been formed.

Westfield School, Tyne and Wear

Project: the school was involved in the `Comenius Project' - a two year project centered around the theme of `Our Fragile and Beautiful World.' Through this project, they have shared good practice with schools in Germany and Turkey and taken part in a range of activities on topics such as; flora and fauna, transport, global warming, pollution, recycling and alternative energy.

Best E-Learning Initiative

Elstree School, Berkshire

Project: networked first-person shooter game. A bank of 200 KS3 science questions were integrated into the program to create a game called Science Slaughter. Players answer questions in order to pick up ammunition. It can be used for assessment by tracking scores and can be linked to questions primed in a lesson.

Evelyn Street Community Primary School, Warrington

Project: to encourage junior boys to engage with the curriculum, they were given hand-held computers to take home to access games and websites controlled by the school's ICT technician.

Francis Bacon Maths and Computing College, Hertfordshire

Project: 8,000 interactive learning games have added fun and diversity to the curriculum and homework. Pupils can also create "micons" and earn credits to spend on their character once they have completed learning games.

Mount Grace School, Hertfordshire

Project: The Retreat is a space for disruptive pupils at risk of being expelled. Pupils can interact with the subject teacher via text or live through a microphone.

Saltash.net Community School, Cornwall

Project: Recharge the Battery examines ethics through awareness of animal welfare in battery farmed eggs. Pupils communicated their opinions through blogs, podcasts and videos.

Teddington School, Middlesex

Project: Thought for the Day is an interactive bulletin during morning registration that overcomes the problem of limited space for morning assemblies. A website displays readings, topics, policies and videos. Pupils can interact with their opinions or contribute displays of their work.

Outstanding Personalised Learning Initiative of the Year

Hartshill School, Warwickshire

Project: the curriculum accommodates four pathways at options stage: GCSEs, Btecs, work-related learning or a Prince's Trust Team XL programme for pupils at risk of not achieving. About half of the school's pupils are doing a Young Apprenticeship and all pupils spend one day a week on a vocational course.

Hastings High School, Leicestershire

Project: pupils do five-week modules in activities as diverse as literacy support, dance, origami and assisting at a nursery. Academic results have risen and exclusions fell from 106 pupil days to just 19.5. Work is taking place to plug gaps in pupils' core subject knowledge and a team of learning support assistants build up skills such as touch typing and literacy.

Lipson Community College, Devon

Project: the curriculum allows pupils the flexibility to move through school at the pace of their learning rather than their age. The curriculum focuses on development of key functional skills and allows for intense study and inquiry-based learning. Each pupil is given a personal course recommendation, making sure that they are challenged and allowing for varying speeds of work.

Lent Rise Combined School, Buckinghamshire

Project: the virtual learning environment has enabled personalised learning for each pupil at this culturally and socio-economically diverse primary. Pupils and parents are encouraged to develop their own learning in the neutral environment of a cyber cafe, and families can work together. Pupils have a school council chatroom and can volunteer to work as media mentors, learning mentors and play leaders.

E13 Learning Federation, Portway School, London

Project: Newham local authority undertook a huge multi-media project which involved several schools, a few hundred teachers and over 3,000 pupils. High-quality portable audio recorders (Edirols), still digital cameras and Flip video cameras were integrated into the curriculum and gave pupils the chance to express themselves individually, using equipment specifically suited to their needs.

Maltby Crags Infant School, South Yorkshire

Project: the creative curriculum at this school is based on the six areas of learning from Foundation Stage and is led by the children based upon their interests, needs and the Learners stage - not age. Enterprise key skills and SEAL are a main focus to meet the unique diverse needs of pupils. The overall aim in this school, where there are high levels of deprivation, is to equip children with life skills to break the patterns of disadvantage that some families may have experienced for generations.

Best School Dinners

Abbey Manor College, London

Achievements: dinners are planned, prepared and cooked by NVQ catering students who serve staff and pupils, 90 per cent of whom have a two-course meal at lunch.

Beechen Cliff School, Somerset

Achievements: the catering team has set a target of never serving the same meal twice in one year, and fresh ingredients are locally sourced. After- school cookery classes are on offer for parents and siblings.

Corpus Christi Catholic Sports College, Lancashire

Achievements: a head chef was hired and the school gym has been transformed into Il Cenacolo restaurant. Since opening in October 2008, there has been a 100 per cent increase in income generated from school dinner sales.

Crosshall Infant School, Cambridgeshire

Achievements: parents, friends and families are encouraged to come and eat lunch, and 320 out of 350 pupils now eat in school.

Pott Shrigley Church School, Cheshire

Achievements: a kitchen refurbishment brought a massive increase in pupils taking school lunches. The school cook runs a cooking club for pupils and helps to deliver lessons in healthy eating.

St Aidan's CofE High School, North Yorkshire

Achievements: a 20-strong catering team serves 85 per cent of pupils. Facilities include a deli-bar serving healthy fast food. A dietician analyses meals for nutritional balance.

Outstanding Staff TrainingDevelopment Initiative

Dilkes Primary School, Essex

Project: all staff have examined evidence on the effectiveness of different teaching methods and shared findings at a whole-school teaching and learning conference.

St John Bosco Arts College, Merseyside

Project: the Outstanding Teaching programme has helped break down staff resistance to being observed. Teachers share their findings and receive feedback formally and informally.

Threshfield Primary School, North Yorks

Project: an electronic resource for staff training based on mind map resources from TeacherNet and LA Training. Teachers take part in weekly training sessions, cluster training days and 30-minute bitesize in-house training.

Challney High School for Boys and Community College, Bedfordshire

Project: an electronic e-portfolio to monitor, assess and develop teacher training has revolutionised the way that trainees and staff record their progress.

South Dartmoor Community College, Devon

Project: learning hubs allow teachers to learn from each other while creating consistency between departments. Colleagues from nine local primary schools are also involved.

Southfields Community College, London

Project: focus on professional development already taking place in the classroom, engaging all staff in action research. Staff who are not already receiving training are engaged in programmes every six weeks.

Outstanding New or Refurbished Primary School

Aldermoor Farm Primary School, Coventry

Project: facilities enable all children access to mainstream school, including flicker-free lighting, tactile and Braille systems on the signage, and microphones in all classrooms.

Forest Way School, Leicestershire

Project: the building reflects the local National Forest. Despite having only 136 pupils, the school had 2,000 visitors at its last informal open day. The local community and the school population were involved in the initial building design and there are a number of inbuilt sustainable features. A central heart feature has an oak trees-inspired canopy draped over a woodland floor. The internal and external school environments provide a range of sensory experiences.

Hawthorns Community School, Manchester

Project: special needs school co-located with its mainstream partner school, Aldwyn Primary. Housed under a sedum roof with lots of natural light and eco-designed learning spaces. Contemporary, ergonomic classroom furniture is in all the classrooms to provide extra comfort and personalised learning support. Courtyards shared between the two schools encourage inclusion and interaction.

Lyndhurst Community Primary School, Cheshire

Project: the two-storey building follows a devastating arson attack in 2006. The hall lies at the heart of the design and is where the school congregates. Each classroom opens on to play areas. The ICT suite is a core feature.

Watercliffe Meadow, South Yorkshire

Project: in three years, a new school was planned and built to replace three other schools in Shirecliffe, Sheffield. Wooden sculptures, designed by the children, represent different continents.

Outstanding New or Refurbished Secondary School

Baubigny Schools, Guernsey

Project: the new buildings allow pupils and staff to share social and learning facilities and house sensory rooms, adventure equipment and an independent living unit.

Falmouth School, Cornwall

Project: the extension and refurbishment of this school's 1960s design and technology block was undertaken as a pilot project in which pupils participated in the school design.

Goldwyn Community Special School, Kent

Project: the new school has created positive opportunities, with lesson absenteeism replaced by enthusiasm for learning.

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