At a glitzy awards dinner, held at the Grosvenor House hotel on London’s Park Lane, teachers' hard work and dedication was praised by comedian Dara O'Briain. The 17 different awards recognised the achievements of whole schools and the individual teachers working in them.
Boldon Outdoor Nursery School, in South Tyneside, was named school of the year. The judges were unanimous in their decision to name Boldon nursery as the overall school of the year, recognising the fact that it offers a range of outdoor activities, intended to develop the whole child.
They said: “It is great to shine a light on the fantastic work being done in the early years sector, because it is so crucial that we get education right early on.”
The South Tyneside nursery was among four schools each recognised for outstanding achievement in their own sectors.
Vauxhall Primary School, in south London, was awarded the primary school of the year title for its commitment to closing the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers. It offers its pupils a range of cultural experiences, including attending performances at the Royal Opera House, seeing Shakespeare plays at the Peacock Theatre, and working with mathematicians from the Royal Institution.
Meanwhile, Stanley Park High, in the south London borough of Sutton, was recognised as secondary of the year for its recent dramatic improvement, as a non-selective school in a selective area.
And The Limes College, also in Sutton, won the award for alternative provision of the year. Ninety per cent of students at the college arrive having witnessed domestic violence. But the college has an average attendance rate of 74 per cent, compared with 69 per cent for other pupil-referral units. And almost all pupils in key stage 4 leave with qualifications and an apprenticeship or sixth-form place.
The awards also recognised individual teachers’ achievements. Karen Hutchings, head of New Park Primary, in Liverpool, was named as headteacher of the year. Ms Hutchings arrived at New Park in 2001, when it had been identified by Ofsted as having serious weaknesses. Six years later, the school achieved an outstanding rating, and Ms Hutchings had earned the nickname of “Can-do Karen”.
English teacher and education blogger Natalie Scott was named teacher blogger of the year. Her blogs cover subjects ranging from the EU referendum to CPD. But she came to internet attention – and the attention of the judges – for her blogs on her work as a volunteer teacher in the refugee camps of Calais and Dunkirk. "She inspires other teachers," the judges said.
Meanwhile, Beth Harris received the lifetime achievement award for her work as head of history at Archbishop Temple School, in Preston, Lancashire. In particular, Mrs Harris has worked hard to bring history to the whole school, running cross-curricular activities such as mock elections and educational visits.
History is consistently among the most popular subjects at the school, with colleagues claiming that pupils enthusiastically buy into the “Mrs Harris brand”.
The full list of award winners
Headteacher of the year: Karen Hutchings, New Park Primary School
Lifetime achievement award: Beth Harris, Archbishop Temple School
Teacher blogger of the year: Natalie Scott
Science, technology and engineering teacher or team of the year: The Science Team, Bordesley Green Girls’ School and Sixth Form, Birmingham
English teacher or team of the year: Tameside English Team, Tameside Secondary Schools
Maths teacher or team of the year: Maths Team at Alcester Academy, Warwickshire
Arts and drama teacher or team of the year: Victoria Education Centre, Dorset
Community and collaboration award: Broadford Primary School, Romford
International (including MFL) award: Abraham Moss Community Primary School, Greater Manchester
Healthy school of the year: Bright Stars Nursery
Creative school of the year: Middleton Park School
Early years centre: Boldon Outdoor Nursery School, South Tyneside
Primary school of the Year: Vauxhall Primary School
Secondary school of the year: Stanley Park High
Alternative provision school of the year: The Limes College
Bev Evans resource author of the year: Paul Urry
Overall school of the year: Boldon Outdoor Nursery School, South Tyneside