Enter the Tes Schools Awards 2021
The Tes Schools Awards are your school's opportunity to shout about your triumphs and celebrate the teachers, staff and teams that are making a real difference to the lives of your students.
Entries will be open until midnight on Friday 19 March 2021. Entry is free and open to all UK state schools.
We want to celebrate your amazing work this year in the toughest of circumstances.
Best use of technology
This award recognises measurable excellence in the use of technology by a teacher or a school. Teachers or schools can nominate themselves or teachers can be nominated by others, including governors, teaching staff and parents. If you’re nominating someone else, please check first that they’re happy to be put forward. Judges will be looking for tangible evidence that the thoughtful and considered implementation of technology has had a positive impact on educational outcomes of students. They’ll take into account the scope of the use of technology and the different aspects of school life and improvement its use has influenced, as well as academic achievement. Please include any relevant data and case studies in your submission.
Classroom support assistant of the year
This award will recognise someone who gives the very best support in the classroom. Classroom support assistants can nominate themselves or be nominated by others, including governors, teaching staff and parents. If you’re nominating someone else, please check first that they’re happy to be put forward. In your submission, please demonstrate how they add value to teaching and learning, to teachers and pupils, and to classrooms and school, by building excellent links with key people – children, parents, teachers, support service. Explain how they work in partnership with teachers during lessons and how they provide support for learning outside of the classroom. We’d like to hear how they foster pupils’ independence and support them to work collaboratively with peers, and support pupils’ social and emotional development. Demonstrate how they develop and apply their knowledge and understanding of pupil learning and development, pupils’ needs, and best practices and how they contribute to the wider work of the school community. We want to see evidence of their work in the classroom and out, their contributions to lesson planning and feedback, creative displays and engaging the children. Testimonials from teachers, headteachers, parents and others are welcome.
Community and collaboration award
If your school is outward facing, then this award is for you. We’re looking for schools that can show how they work with and support their parents and local people or collaborate with other schools, local businesses, universities or colleges. Judges will need to see evidence of effective engagement. In your submission, please include a minimum of three testimonials from partners or the local community.
Creative school of the year
For this award, we’d like to see entries from schools that put creativity at the heart of their work. This isn’t about individual projects in art, drama, music or design (although it could take in one or all of these subjects); this is about making children think differently, beyond the strictures of the conventional curriculum. Ideally, schools that enter should have taken a whole-school or cross-curricular approach to one or more projects and seen a blossoming in creativity in their pupils. While, of course, creativity is hard to measure, we’d like to see evidence that the scheme or schemes have benefited either the entire school, the targeted group of pupils and/or the wider community.
English teacher or team of the year
If you or your team has found an innovative way to teach literacy or English, tell us all about it. The judges will want to see clear, quantifiable evidence of the success of any initiative and will also look at how your work has promoted your subject within your school or community. We’re looking for teachers and teams who’ve created a sense of enthusiasm about the study of English – among students and also among colleagues – while also delivering excellent results. In your submission, please include a minimum of three case studies for pupils (any school phase) who have progressed and shown real achievement.
Environment champion of the year
We’re looking to recognise a member of school staff who is on a mission to save the planet. Whether they have a passionate commitment to helping endangered wildlife, ridding the oceans of plastic, fighting climate change or any other way of preserving the planet and the life it sustains, this award is for them. Individuals can nominate themselves or they can be nominated by others. If you’re nominating someone else, please check first that they’re happy to be put forward. We want to see evidence of how their passion is translated into action and how they engage students and other members of the school team in their mission. We want to see how they’ve inspired positive changes in the school community and beyond. Please support your submission with photos, films, examples of pupils work, school newsletters, letters from parents/governors or links to your school website.
Headteacher of the year
All schools benefit from great leadership – and if your school has a successful and inspirational headteacher, we want to know. Heads can nominate themselves or they can be nominated by governors, teaching staff or parents. If you’re nominating someone else, please check first that they’re happy to be put forward. In your submission, detail all the elements that make them a fantastic leader, including staff development and wellbeing, academic and other achievements, and community engagement. We don’t want to know about how they’re meeting school inspectors’ demands but do want to know about all the other aspects that go into creating a truly happy and successful school. Please include at least three independent testimonials. Video submissions are welcomed, but these should not exceed 90 seconds.
This award will reward someone who has made a significant contribution to education. It could be a well-known figure or a local hero. In your submission, explain exactly what the individual has achieved in their career and why you feel they deserve the trophy. Your nomination should include at least three independent testimonials. Please check with the nominee first that they’re happy to be put forward.
Maths teacher or team of the year
Maths sometimes suffers from a bad reputation. "When will we ever need this in real life?” and "this is sooooo boring" are phrases that can be all too familiar to maths teachers. Have you or your team managed to solve this problem? Have you found a way to help students enjoy mathematics AND be successful at it? If so, we want to hear from you. The judges will not only want to see proof of how you’ve helped students to make progress in maths, but also how you’ve created a buzz around your subject. We’re looking for teachers and teams that have made children excited about studying maths and colleagues excited about teaching it. In your submission, please include a minimum of three case studies for pupils (any school phase) who have progressed and shown real achievement.
New teacher of the year
This award is aimed at recognising the most inspirational new teacher in the country. Teachers can nominate themselves or they can be nominated by governors, teaching staff or parents. If you’re nominating someone else, please check first that they’re happy to be put forward. In your submission, explain exactly what is special about the teacher and what impact they’ve had since joining the teaching community (in the past three years). Judges are looking for new entrants who are truly exceptional in their teaching and who regularly inspire and capture the imagination of their students. We’re looking for the best new teacher in the country, so it will help if your nomination includes hard evidence of success and achievement, and independent testimonials from a number of people.
School business leader of the year
Funding, procurement and teacher recruitment all dominate our educational landscape at the moment, meaning the role of the school business leader has never been more relevant. We’re seeking examples of exceptional school business leaders who’ve either harnessed the challenges faced by their school or trust and turned them into opportunities, or supported other schools and professionals. That might be by leading their school or trust through financial challenges or organisational restructure, through collaborative working, by income generation or by entrepreneurial activity that has had an impact on their school’s success. This could also include acting as mentors, coaches, or running a local group or network to support other schools and professionals. Nominations can come from headteachers, governors or senior leaders or from other school business leaders. Please check first that the nominee is happy to be put forward. In your submission, detail all the elements that make them an exemplary business leader, including examples of their impact on educational outcomes and how their work has supported their headteacher and governing body or another school business leader. Please include at least three independent testimonials
Science, technology and engineering teacher or team of the year
This award recognises excellence and innovative teaching in science, technology or engineering. Judges will want to see clear examples of innovation and quantifiable evidence of the success of any initiative. They’ll also be on the lookout for how you or your team have increased the status of your subject, whether by encouraging more students to pursue careers in Stem or by leading whole-school events to make science, technology and engineering more visible. In your submission, please include
a minimum of three case studies showing innovative and effective approaches to engaging pupils (at any school phase) in Stem and the impact these have on pupil progression and aspiration.
Wellbeing and mental health award
Wellbeing and mental health should be central to everything that schools do. We want to see evidence of projects put in place to support staff and pupils. We want to see whole-school initiatives or schemes that have benefited specific targeted groups. In your submission, please provide evidence of effect and case studies.
Alternative provision school of the year
Alternative provision units provide invaluable support to students. Teachers in these units work hard every day to make sure that students who may not be able to attend conventional school don’t go without the great educational experience they deserve. This award is open to any type of standalone alternative provision (schools for students with special educational needs or emotional and behavioural difficulties, and pupil referral units). In your submission, tell us why the academic year 2019-20 was stand-out for your unit, citing successes and improvements. We’d like to see quantifiable evidence to support your case. For example, you may have had improvements in attendance levels, staff retention, parental engagement or student success. You may have developed new and innovative ways to support students in their learning, helped them engage with their local community (including businesses), or you may want to tell us something else entirely. We want to look beyond traditional methods of measurement and celebrate success and innovation in alternative provision.
Early years setting of the year
This award will recognise an early years setting that is at the centre of its community and whose parents are as involved and enthusiastic about the setting as the children who attend it. It is open to all types of early years provision and we welcome entries from childminders as well as private, voluntary and independent (PVI) and school-based settings. Your setting will be excellent at offering the prime areas of learning – communication and language; physical development; and personal, social and emotional development – and at promoting the characteristics of effective learning. We’d like to see evidence that your setting brings something unique to the mix in terms of the creativity and innovation that is at the heart of early years education. Show us how you’re inclusive and how you meet the needs of every child who attends your setting.
Primary school of the year
For primary schools, the key challenge is sparking a love for learning, then nurturing it until it burns brightly with a power of its own. Has your school notched up great achievements (and we’re not looking at inspection reports)? Have you shone out among other schools in the area? Did you blaze a trail of improvement? Do all your children love coming to school? Using evidence to support your case, tell us the secrets of your success. Was it down to innovative ways of working, parental involvement, pure grit and determination, or something else? However you did it, if you believe your school stood out during 2019-20, we want to know
Secondary school of the year
This award is open to secondary schools that have had an exceptional performance in the previous 12 months; however, it is equally applicable to those that have experienced rapid improvement and those that are maintaining continued excellence over a longer period. The judges want to see more than academic achievement: submissions should demonstrate innovation, imagination and efforts to develop children in ways that go beyond the league tables. You should provide evidence to support your application, be it inspection reports, parent testimonials, data analysis or anything else you feel would be relevant.
Overall school of the year
This is the big one, the best of the best, the most coveted trophy of all. The winners of the early years, primary, secondary and alternative provision school of the year categories will be automatically entered for this award. The winner will be announced as the finale to the awards ceremony. Entries are not required for this category.