Representatives from some of the best private schools in the country gathered in London on Friday night for the glittering TES Independent School Awards.
Hosted by former Conservative minister Michael Portillo, the night was focused on rewarding schools for their inspirational and innovative initiatives in a wide variety of areas.
St Joseph’s College in Reading celebrated after receiving the top accolade – Independent School of the Year 2015 – for its “courageous” strategic financial plan to boost investment and reduce fees in order raise pupil numbers.
The judging panel said the scheme was a “trailblazing approach” that others in the sector are beginning to follow.
The British School Jakarta in Indonesia won the award for British International School of the Year for its project to create a “micro school” to provide education to the children of displaced families living in shanty dwellings. Judges said the school showed “a wonderful and compassionate commitment to extending education to others”.
In the field of special needs, The Moat School in London, which specialises in dyslexia, won Special Needs Initiative of the Year for its paired reading scheme, which involved all staff and pupils.
Meanwhile, the Community Initiative of the Year award went to St John’s School, Leatherhead, in Surrey, for holding an annual residential week for special needs children. The youngsters stay in the school’s boarding houses and experience day trips, sports activities, music, drama and creative play.
The TES award ceremony also rewarded partnerships between independent and state schools.
King Edward’s School in Birmingham won the Best Independent-Maintained School Collaboration category for its programme improving teaching and learning for pupils in local state junior schools.
Sally Hobbs, headteacher of Orchard House School in London, received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her work opening and then leading the school for 22 years.
Other awards included:
Financial/Commercial Initiative of the Year: St Joseph’s College, Reading
Strategic Education Initiative of the Year: Ashford School, Kent
Marketing/Communications Campaign of the Year: Bredon School, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire
Senior Leadership Team of the Year: Kent College, Canterbury
Governing Body of the Year: Leicester Grammar School
Fundraising Initiative of the Year: Uppingham School, Rutland
Boarding Initiative of the Year: Wellington College, Berkshire