ABOUT INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS OF THE YEAR 2020
Independent Schools of the Year 2020 is an awards scheme run by the Independent School Parent portfolio of magazines to celebrate the success stories of schools and their students across the independent education sector in the UK and British schools overseas. Showcasing the excellence of the educational experience available to students of all backgrounds, these awards recognise and applaud the varied and imaginative ways in which independent schools prepare young people for their future lives.
The awards are free to enter for all independent schools which are members of an association in membership of the Independent Schools Council*. The 21 award categories, including the new award for the Overseas Campus of the Year,, have been designed to reflect the breadth and diversity of life in an independent school in the 21st century and are intended to acknowledge the contribution these often long-established institutions make to both their local communities and wider society in today’s world.
The awards will be chaired once again by Dr Helen Wright, international education adviser and past Vice Chair of the ISC, supported by a panel of judges which includes leading Head Teachers and representatives of the professional associations, including
- Dr Helen Wright, International Education Advisor and past Vice Chair of the ISC
- Charlotte Avery, Headmistress, St Mary’s School Cambridge
- Colin Bell, CEO, COBIS
- Andrew Fleck, Principal, Sedbergh School, Cumbria
- Robin Fletcher, Chief Executive, Boarding Schools’ Association
- Tory Gillingham, Managing Director, AMCIS
- Jim Massey, Headmaster, Daneshill School
- David Moncrieff, Chair, Editorial Advisory Board, Independent School Parent
- James Priory, Headmaster, Tonbridge School
- Julie Robinson, General Secretary, ISC
- Peter Tait, Educational writer and former Head of Sherborne Prep School, Dorset
- Philippa J. Scudds, Director of Marketing and Communications, Cranford
- Sue Woodroofe, Principal, The Grammar School at Leeds
- Peter Young, School Governor
Helen Wright comments “I am absolutely delighted to be chairing the judging panel for the Independent Schools of the Year for a third time. I am fully convinced that it is right to push ahead with the awards in the current highly challenging context as the announcement of the winners in October will provide our schools with a great platform from which to tell their stories and underline the benefits of an independent school education as the recovery process gets into gear.
It is an enormous pleasure and privilege to chair a panel of judges which brings together such highly experienced leaders in the world of independent education. Between them the judges possess an unrivalled combined wealth of wisdom and insight into how top-achieving schools operate.
Great schools believe in their students’ ability to grow and develop and become the best of themselves. The UK’s independent schools are vibrant exciting places which are constantly evolving to respond to the needs of their individual students.
These highly-regarded awards recognise and celebrate the amazing experiences and opportunities for students in independent schools across the UK and British schools overseas. Every day, students in independent schools benefit from the innovation and commitment of their teachers and support staff; we want to hear these inspirational stories and spread the word about excellence – and resilience -in the sector. We were delighted by the breadth and depth of the entries we received over the last two years and hope we will get even more in 2020.”
What the Judges will be looking for
The judges will be looking for stories of success which demonstrate how the schools applying for each award have fostered excellence and enhanced their students’ ability to grow and develop in whichever aspect of school life the award recognises. They will be looking for evidence of excellence in any and all of its forms.. They will also wish to be persuaded that the schools submitting entries are continually evolving to meet the needs of their students and offer a vibrant learning – and living – environment.
Success comes in many different guises – from winning national competitions to creating life-changing moments. The judges will be open to individual schools’ own interpretation of what represents success for them. They will be keen to see how the schools present their stories and narrate the achievement of excellence. Entries could talk about school life as a whole or focus on individual initiatives or achievements, but they will all need to be underpinned by supporting evidence and demonstrate how student life has been enriched.
The judges will also be interested in the prospective longevity and sustainability of the activities described and will want to understand the depth of impact they have on the students and their school.
Each award celebrates a different element or dimension of an independent school education. Consequently, the judges will expect each entry to focus on the achievement of excellence in the area of activity for which the particular award is being made rather than a holistic description of the school’s overall performance.
The style and clarity of the written entry will also be important; the judges will be looking for a compelling story effectively told which draws them into the life of a school rather than a simple list of achievements.
The award categories for which schools can apply are:
- Independent Pre-Prep School of the Year
- Independent Prep School of the Year
- Co-educational Independent School of the Year
- Independent Girls’ School of the Year
- Independent Boys’ School of the Year
- Independent Boarding School of the Year
- British International School of the Year
- Small Independent School of the Year
- Overseas Campus of the Year
- Independent School of the Year for Sporting Achievement
- Independent School of the Year for the Performing Arts (music & drama)
- Independent School of the Year for Student Careers Programme
- Independent School of the Year for Community Outreach
- Independent School of the Year for Contribution to Social Mobility
- Independent School of the Year for Student Well-Being
- Independent School of the Year for International Student Experience
- Independent School of the Year for Healthy Eating
- The Marketing Award for Effective Brand Communication
- The Green Award for Environmental Achievement
- Rising Star of the Year Award
The Rising Star of the Year Award honours the particular success of individual students who are nominated by their schools for outstanding personal achievement. The winner of the Rising Star award will be decided by the Independent School Parent editorial team.
A further award will be made for the Independent School of the Year which will be chosen by the judges from amongst the winners of all the other categories.
Nominations will open on 17 March 2020 and close on 22 May 2020 . The announcement of the winners in October will be the centrepiece to a PR campaign, led by Independent School Parent, working in co-operation with the professional associations to help our schools recover from the enormous challenges of the summer and demonstrate that they are back on the front foot offering a world-class education. Running across a raft of media platforms, its purpose will be to celebrate the contribution these schools continue to make to our country’s success by showcasing the stories of our winners.
Winners, Finalists and Commended Schools will be presented with specially commissioned award rosettes for use across their print and online marketing materials as they readdress prospective parents and students.
* For the purpose of this award a British International school is a school in membership of COBIS or of a constituent association of the Independent Schools Council situated anywhere in the world other than the UK.