Catholic schools picked up an exceptional number of educational awards at the 2010 TES Schools Awards ceremony, held on 17 June as the Grosvenor House Hotel, London. Five out of the 15 categories of awards were won by Catholic schools, an extremely impressive achievement since Catholic schools make up only 10% of schools nationally.
These awards were: Outstanding Secondary School of the Year, Outstanding Primary School of the Year, Outstanding Community Involvement Award, Outstanding numeracy initiative; Outstanding Sustainable School of the Year and Outstanding School Dinners Award.
Oona Stannard, Chief Executive and Director of the Catholic Education Service for England and Wales (CESEW) said: "Winning these awards is a terrific affirmation of our schools and I congratulate all winners wholeheartedly. I am delighted to have been able to attend their presentation at the TES awards ceremony. Their headteachers, teachers, other school staff and governors work tirelessly in support of their pupils to give them the best possible support in mind, body and spirit. This is shown in the range of categories in which we have excelled from those where challenging schools have made it to outstanding, through to making an enormously positive impact on communities and sustainable development, not forgetting being brilliant at providing very popular and healthy school dinners."
"The winning Catholic schools should also be a wakeup call to people who mistakenly think that we do not face the same challenges as other schools. St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary has three times the national average of pupils eligible for free schools meals and most of St John Plessington Catholic College's pupils come from a very deprived constituency. I have visited Bishop Challoner Schools on a number of occasions and can vouch personally for their remarkable contribution to the local community. They have got stuck into issues that would have daunted the hardiest and with open hearts and minds, not to mention a great deal of skill, set about reaching out to the vulnerable and providing activities that have built esteem, aspiration and a sense of community amongst many."
The winning Catholic schools are noted below with the comments from the judging panel about their achievements.
Outstanding Secondary School of the Year - St John Plessington Catholic College, Bebington, Wirral, Merseyside
Judges' verdict: "This school has potentially one of the toughest intakes in Europe, let alone Britain. Yet it has become one of the most improved schools in the country, and has done excellent work helping others. Ofsted described it as "an outstanding school where exceptional things happen" the judges agreed."
Outstanding Primary School of the Year - St Thomas of Canterbury RC Primary, Salford, Greater Manchester
Judges' verdict: "The panel was highly impressed by the innovations St Thomas introduced in challenging circumstances. But what dazzled them even more was that its innovations made a difference - as proven by its dramatic increase in contextual value-added scores between 2006-2009. "They've packed a lot in - and have the evidence to show it has worked".
Outstanding Community Involvement Award - Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate Schools, Tower Hamlets, London
Judges' verdict: "Bishop Challoner's work was "a major undertaking that addressed real problems in its area in a multifaceted and multicultural way" the judges said.
The Learning Village had played a key role in reducing crime and vandalism, and improving understanding between young people of different backgrounds. "It is extremely difficult to measure the impact of community work, but Bishop Challoner had the evidence to show it had made a difference."
Outstanding Sustainable School of the Year - Saint Bede's Catholic High, Lytham, St Annes, Lancashire
Judges' verdict: "This school had it all - lots of innovative renewable energy kit, a fantastic organic garden and a wide range of green events. The judges liked the fact that the approach fed into lots of the school's activities, and was embedded in everything it did. They also praised the way the eco work rippled beyond the school to involve parents and families, and the colossal overall reduction in CO2, it was achieving as a result."
Outstanding School Dinner Award - Corpus Christi Catholic Sports College, Preston, Lancashire
Judges' verdict: "The panel was already impressed with this school, which had been a finalist last year. But this year it has improved still further, and now has the data to show the vast increase in children choosing to eat at [the new school restaurant] Il Cenacolo. The school's organic garden also stood out.
The Outstanding Numeracy Initiative award was won by Christ the Redeemer Primary School in Belfast