Independent School Awards 2016 :: Winners
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TES Independent School Awards 2016 - winners announced!

2016 Winners


The winners of the 2016 TES Independent School Awards, were announced on Friday 25 November 2016 at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.

We have uploaded all the photos from the evening to our TES Independent Schools Awards 2016 Flickr album - so that you can download and share.

You can also download the 2016 winner's book, showing the full details of the winning projects.



Overall Independent School of the Year 2016
New Hall School
Judges' comments:

New Hall School has shown great vision throughout its senior leadership team and governing body.

The school has grown by 150 per cent (with plans to expand further), moved its fi nances from break-even to consistently high annual surpluses, sponsored a primary academy (the fi rst to do so, and helped the school move from near-closure to being successful and oversubscribed), all while changing its structure to the diamond model from a former girls’ convent school. Boarding numbers have risen from 100 to 250, and academic achievement has reached new heights too.

Judges were particularly impressed by the holistic approach by school leaders that has reaped success across the board. But the school hasn’t rested on its laurels. New projects and future developments are always borne in mind and ultimately enacted.

Judges’ comment
"A clearly effective school at all levels and an exemplar of a can-do attitude throughout"

Sponsored by

Strategic education initiative of the year
Colfe's School
Judges' comments:

A radical new tutoring system, “the Colfe’s Family” initiative, has been introduced which integrates Years 8 to 11. In 2014, the school decided to restructure the teaching of personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education, by using pupils’ social experiences and knowledge from lessons and turning them into scenarios from outside the classroom. Each tutor group represents an average family of four living in the UK and every week new challenges and scenarios are released.

Pupils work together as a “family” to solve them. A broad range of subjects are involved along with current affairs, economic understanding, and social, moral and ethical issues. Designing the scenarios around the curriculum immediately made it relevant. For example, pupils realised that skills learned in maths could help them work out mortgage rates, tax, salaries and pay bills. As a result, the scenarios are discussed in the playground and at home, which has given pupils a chance to be independent and have a voice.

Judges’ comment
"Impressive development in PSHE that caught the eye"

Sponsored by

Financial/commercial initiative of the year
New Hall School
Judges' comments:

New Hall created a plan to improve times and promote alternatives to car use for the school journey. These were funded from external sources after negotiations over three years with local property developers and Chelmsford City Council. Developers were persuaded to donate £250,000 for a new access road to the school. In addition, the school persuaded them to finance a bridleway, footpath and cycleroute between a nearby housing development and the school, arguing the case for community benefits and green travel.

As well as significant external investment, journey times have been cut and many more students now travel to school by means other than by car. It has helped to support an expansion plan by overcoming a major obstacle for potential and current parents. Student numbers have increased by 150 per cent to 1,250, while the budget surplus rose from a deficit/break-even position to a record £1.8 million in 2015.

Judges’ comment
"An ingenious way to improve accessibility to the school, as well as a fundamental improvement in the balance sheet"

Sponsored by

Fundraising initiative of the year
Summer Fields Preparatory School
Judges' comments:

Summer Fields, an independent boys’ boarding and day preparatory school in North Oxford, embarked on an ambitious capital campaign to mark its 150th anniversary in 2014. The overall target was to raise £8 million as part of a phased development programme to enhance the school environment and bolster provision for bursaries and scholarships. Phase I (target £3 million) was completed in October 2015 with a brand new building, the Salata Pavilion, fully funded through fundraising.

The school has offered a range of naming opportunities including joining The Peg Society for £500. It has more than 230 members and was inspired by the fact that every boy is given a school number, which he keeps for the duration of his time at the school. Traditionally, this number is retained by the family, in some cases passing on through generations. Members have their name and attendance dates engraved on a plaque in a dedicated peg corridor connecting the pavilion with the main school.

Judges’ comment
"A clever initiative that complements a school tradition"

Sponsored by

Community initiative of the year
Hill House School
Judges' comments:

The annual Robin Hood Music and Drama Festival was created as a community initiative in 2011 to provide opportunities for young people in Doncaster to play, sing, act and compete in an inclusive and supportive setting for performing arts. It is now a hugely successful six-day festival, the largest of its type in the region. It is managed and promoted by the school’s music department, working with local community groups and schools.

Last year, it involved more than 500 performers in over 70 classes, with pupils from 38 schools, performing arts groups, choirs and orchestras. The festival has grown over its five years. An outstanding performers’ concert now attracts an audience of 700. In 2014, a day of musicmaking for children with SEND was introduced and in 2015 the festival was able to fund two annual scholarships for pupils in challenging financial circumstances to join a local professional award-winning choir.

Judges’ comment
"Extraordinary project of impressive scope"

Sponsored by

Best independent-maintained school collaboration
Wellington College
Judges' comments:

Wellington College has been committed to meaningful partnerships with state schools for almost a decade. Its chaplain, whose daughter attends Carwarden House, a local school for children with special educational needs such as autism or Down’s syndrome, suggested a partnership that would benefit students at both schools. The project was structured around weekly afternoon visits. Students devised their own activities, and tasks at Wellington ranged from sports sessions to the production of a joint pantomime. At Carwarden, students did gardening and cooking activities together, and worked collaboratively to create a large mural.

The emphasis was on students interacting and learning about one another’s personalities in an unforced way. Children with anything more than mild learning difficulties are not a section of society that Wellingtonians usually encounter. They spoke of fear beforehand but ended the project with real empathy, having made genuine friends. The impact on Carwarden students has been profound with an opportunity to increase their independence and confidence.

Judges’ comment
"A heartwarming and effective pairing with another school"

Special needs initiative of the year
Calder House School
Judges' comments:

The school’s working memory initiative began with the realisation that a poor working memory underpinned many of its pupils’ difficulties. It adversely impacts on learning to read, creative writing, and affects classroom learning, thus eroding self-confidence.

Calder House had always offered remedial support for poor memory, but for those possessing very low working memories, progress was often limited. It was already using, as a stand-alone resource, a cognitive program Cogmed, which focuses on the visual and auditory elements of working memory. By using Cogmed to identify particular areas of working memory difficulty and addressing those areas outside the program, it has improved outcomes through better individual pupil record keeping and targeting.

Judges’ comment
"Superb example of setting the bar high for pupils"

Sponsored by

Boarding initiative of the year
Ashville College
Judges' comments:

Ashville College is a co-educational day and boarding school for 750 pupils aged 3-19. The boarding community consists of some 110 pupils comprising 14 nationalities. Pupils said that they wanted weekend activities that gave them an insight into British culture, a chance to engage with the local community, and were fun. The new programme includes organising charitable events and visits to museums, art galleries and walks in the Yorkshire Dales.

Team-building and leadership skills are developed through a series of inter-house competitions, including singing, cooking and netball. Day pupils have been invited in for specific “boarding in” weekends, enabling them to experience and enjoy life in the boarding houses. There has been a positive impact across the whole of the school. Boarders, in particular those from overseas, contribute more to school life, while day pupils have a greater appreciation and understanding of boarding and there has been an increase in flexi-boarders as a direct result.

Judges’ comment
"A very effective project that makes boarders feel at home"

Sponsored by

Marketing/communications campaign of the year
St Lawrence College
Judges' comments:

Ramsgate in Kent has seen a large influx of affluent families moving from London as a result of the high-speed rail link. And the opening of the Turner Contemporary art gallery in nearby Margate presented an opportunity to tap into this new market which had no prior knowledge of local schools. In October 2014, St Lawrence College entered into an agreement to become exclusive lead sponsor of the gallery’s Self: Image and Identity exhibition.

It stirred up a great deal of interest as it was offering the first public viewing of Van Dyck’s self-portrait. In addition, a visit in March 2015 by the Duchess of Cambridge helped total visitor numbers to exceed 125,000. The £7,500 contribution was also an opportunity to demonstrate the school’s commitment to the arts – particularly for parents who thought too much emphasis was placed on sport – at a time when arts funding was being cut at state schools. Press coverage exceeded all expectations with total advertising value equivalency surpassing £700,000 and a new two-year partnership has been agreed.

Judges’ comment
"A powerful message to parents and the community of the school brand"

Sponsored by

Senior leadership team of the year
Royal Grammar School, Newcastle
Judges' comments:

The senior leadership team, together since 2011, has crafted and led the “ReTHINKing learning and well-being” project. This has shaped a school whose nurturing of students and staff alike means children thrive emotionally, learn effectively and achieve highly. Recognising that a strong link between the academic and pastoral enhances all outcomes, a new role combining the monitoring of wellbeing and academic progress has been created.

This concentration on care, support and improved access to advice and counselling has shown clear gains at all levels of the school. Students are routinely ready to discuss mental health issues and support the community. Pupils take greater control of their development throughout their school years. Exam results led The Sunday Times to name it the Best School in the North in both 2014 and 2015. Building on this success, literally, in 2015 it opened a spectacular new swimming pool and a second sports hall, commercially funded from fee-income raised through collective vision and sound planning.

Judges’ comment
"A clear example of the SLT putting pupils’ welfare first"

Sponsored by

Governing body of the year
St. Teresa's Effingham
Judges' comments:

In 2012, St Teresa’s was in trouble as it faced a falling school roll and substantial financial losses. The governors took the decision to invest in order to ameliorate the situation. They appointed a new management team, retaining a few key individuals, and the finance committee secured a significant bank loan of £1.8 million in order to maintain cash flow and allow the senior leadership team freedom to invest.

The school embarked on a new marketing campaign, including fresh branding and a change to the school name. Funds were invested wisely with an initial focus on all things visible such as paint, carpets and the grounds. The board also gave their approval for a new uniform, reinforcing their commitment to wholesale change. During the past four years, St Teresa’s has experienced a remarkable turnaround and has grown its roll by nearly 50 per cent. Every aspect of the school has been scrutinised, evaluated and, where possible, changed to create a real sense of a school on the move.

Judges’ comment
"Effective and bold initiatives that have transformed the school"

Sponsored by

Outstanding post-16 innovative provision
Queen Anne's School
Judges' comments:

The school implemented research findings from its educational neuroscience project, BrainCanDo, into its new sixth-form centre. It has created a state-of-the-art educational environment and aims to help students feel more like adults, preparing them for life beyond school. Recognising the importance of a collaborative learning environment, the centre offers new technologies, furniture design, spatial planning and architectural design to liberate students from the traditional classroom environment. It is equipped with an entirely digital library, and several large study pods offering enclosed workspaces where groups of students can engage in seminars or group work.

The classroom walls are coated with write-on, projectable wallpaper that turns them into versatile visual aids. Innovative furniture allows teachers to adjust the classroom to suit the desired teaching method, and enables students to customise their learning environment. Breakout spaces are decorated according to themes chosen by students, such as Central Park and the inside of Big Ben.

Judges’ comment
"A superb project to help pupils bridge the gap between being a child and an adult"

 

British international school initiative of the year
The British School Kathmandu
Judges' comments:

The school used long-standing relationships forged through a student-led development initiative to make a significant contribution in the aftermath of the April 2015 Nepal earthquake. It reopened after just two days, providing a safe haven for students. The school also offered its hall as a base for Médecins Sans Frontières, it took in children from other international schools, and its grounds were used as a campsite for those without homes. Teachers expanded their timetables to cover for absent colleagues and taught outside in temporary classrooms.

Public exams took place as normal. There was, however, a feeling that more could be done. Each of three primary schools with which the school partners had been severely damaged, one destroyed completely. The British School, Kathmandu raised £350,000 in a few months, and a year later all have been rebuilt. Despite serving the poorest communities, the partner schools have started their new academic year with some of the finest and safest facilities in the country.

Judges’ comment
"A very impressive series of initiatives to support the region in the wake of a disaster"

Sponsored by

Lifetime achievement
John Claughton
Judges' comments:

In 2006, John Claughton became chief master of King Edward’s School, Birmingham, where he was a pupil in the 1970s. During his tenure he has made a long-lasting impact on both the school and education in the region. His commitment to accessibility has made the school the most socially and ethnically diverse independent school in the country. It has completed one of the largest-ever bursary fundraising campaigns and raised £10 million to fund 100 additional assisted places, trebling the amount available each year before his arrival.

The school works with more than 11,000 state-educated primary school children and 450 teachers from 190 schools each year. Initiatives include city-wide maths competitions, with entries from 110 state primaries. As the demographic of the school changed, John recognised a new curriculum was needed. In 2010, the school abandoned A-levels and took up the International Baccalaureate Diploma. This has brought great success in exam results and it won the Sunday Times International Baccalaureate School of the Year 2015 award.

Judges’ comment
"An impressive and long-standing commitment to increasing access to an independent education"