We've had two important teaching award ceremonies fairly recently -- the TES School Awards
and the Education Business Awards
-- where a number of schools and teachers have received deserved accolades. My son's own school, Bethnal Green Technology College
, received the award for the most improved school. I know this award is important for the school in raising its profile both nationally and locally and is richly deserved; as has been documented before on this website, the school is transforming the lives of the pupils -- over half of whom are on Free School Meals -- by raising aspirations and achievement. It's interesting to note that quite a few of the schools are or recently were local authority schools; this includes BGTC (shortly to become an academy), Passmores Academy (which was an LA school until this September) Rokeby School
, Sir John Lawes School
, and Redwood School
. Personally, I'm a pragmatist regarding the academy issue and can sympathise with converter schools which are essentially chasing the money and "going with the tide", but I can't help feeling that there's a lesson for the government here: many local authority schools, by any measure, are doing a great job. Indeed, as these awards show, they are out-performing many Academies. And yet, the government would have us believe that it's only free schools and academies that are truly effective.
It's interesting to note that the Education Business Awards has special categories for Academies: Best Partnership Award (sponsored by Kumon), Academy Development Award (sponsored by Capital Solutions), and Outstanding Academy Award (sponsored by Kumon). It's perhaps a bit worrying in the light of this that there is no local authority school award. Perhaps the LSN should sponsor this? (If we had any money!)
Both the Prime Minister and the Education Secretary aren't doing anyone any favours by constantly attacking them. Indeed, one wonders if they were paying any attention to these award ceremonies...