2021 Award Winners

A huge congratulations to the winners for the 8 award categories this year. Scroll down to see more information on each winner.

School Business Leader of the Year

As Trust Business Manager and Chief Financial Officer at Veritas MAT, Alison has been instrumental in developing both Governance and Business Team structures and leads across all business areas. Alison has led the Project Management of schools joining the trust. Successfully gaining an MBA in Educational Leadership and Management in 2016, she is also accredited as a Fellow of ISBL. She has delivered training in Finance and Risk on the NPQEL and NPQH programmes and spoken at national conferences. Alison has been proud to develop her team based around the ISBL Professional Standards; now well positioned to support trust growth.

Leadership Team of the Year

Berkhamsted School's Group is a family of independent schools in Hertfordshire combining both single-sex and co-educational teaching from Day Nursery to Sixth Form. Led by Principal Richard Backhouse the School's Leadership Teams comprise of a group wide Executive of 11 people and local Senior Management Teams. As an organisation we are committed to 'Developing Remarkable People' whether that is our nearly 2,000 student body or our 500+ staff.

School of the Year

Highfurlong Special School is a 4 times outstanding school for children with complex medical and general learning needs. We are a 2 – 19 provider located in Blackpool, Lancashire. Highfurlong has doubled in size in the last two years and we now have 110 pupils on roll. Our mission is based on the key words Inspire, Challenge, Believe. Our bespoke curriculum prepares our pupils for all stages of life and enables pupils to leave school with qualifications and a genuine chance to succeed. Highfurlong was crowned ‘Britain’s Happiest Secondary School’ in 2019 and continues to go from strength to strength.

School Infrastructure Innovation of the Year

Dave has worked in Education IT for nearly 20 years and led on some of the largest managed service projects in the North East before joining Northern Education Trust as their Trust IT Manager in 2016. Northern Education Trust are one of the largest and most successful trusts in the North of England and Dave has played a pivotal role in supporting the transformation and development of EdTech and IT infrastructure in all 21 academies within the trust.

MAT of the Year

Wellspring Multi-Academy Trust has 29 Academies across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. The Trust provides high quality education in primary, secondary, special and alternative provision settings which are distinctive in character. Its growth and achievements have been substantial, with eight new schools already being built, more under development and substantial ongoing improvements to the school estate. Wellspring is passionate about its social purpose, championing inclusive education, stronger communities and improving life chances. By embedding a strong culture focused on social purpose and treating young people with unconditional positive regard, it is proud to have never permanently excluded a pupil.

Governor of the Year

Affectionately known as ‘Betty’, she has been the stalwart for our community for over 40 years. She has made an exceptional contribution, initially as Bursar and part of SLT, and as Chair of Governors since 2011. Betty provides strong Leadership demonstrated by St Damian’s moving from Special Measures to Ofsted outstanding in all areas! Betty’s works tirelessly for charity and in 2016 was awarded The Queens Award for Voluntary Service in recognition for service to Willow Wood Hospice. Underpinning her remarkable dedication, Betty is hard-working, honest, determined, has great wisdom and humility in abundance. In essence, Betty is truly unique and an 'unsung hero' who works relentlessly for the St Damian’s Community.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Sue has spent 34 years in the classroom with an ambition to make food technology relevant to young people and has been highly successful in embedding this valuable subject in Warlingham School’s curriculum. She became Head of Year and was integral to the birth of the house system in 2002 which still thrives today. In this role she worked tirelessly to address pastoral issues that acted as a barrier to student success. Driven by a desire to bring new talent into the most rewarding of professions, this passion led to outstanding leadership of Warlingham school’s teacher training and induction programmes.

Income Innovator of the Year

Ahead of joining the Gosport and Fareham Multi Academy Trust (GFM), as an Executive Headteacher, Chris was a senior leader in London. He has been a Trustee for a national MAT and is currently a Governor Vice Chair for two federated infant schools in Gosport. Chris has utilised his charisma and commitment to Gosport to secure a number of high level, strategic community and business partnerships, enabling funding and wider learning opportunities for Gosport and Fareham learners. Furthermore, Chris has a key responsibility for the Personal Development and Community endeavours of the GFM which serves five local schools, educating 4000 learners.