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The Totteridge Academy in Running for Top Award
United Learning

The Totteridge Academy in Running for Top Award


Students and staff at the Barnet academy are celebrating making their way onto the national Tes Schools Awards shortlist for ‘Secondary School of the Year’

This summer term has brought more excitement than usual for students and staff at The Totteridge Academy, after finding out they were in the running for a top award.

The academy could soon be named ‘Secondary School of the Year’, after being shortlisted for the national Tes Schools Awards. Recognising excellence in teaching and learning across the country, the Awards garner many high-quality nominations each year, so a spot in the final shortlist is a considerable feat. A gala ceremony will be held at the end of June, at which the winners will be announced.

This shortlist – and potentially, the national title – would further cement the transformation that The Totteridge Academy has celebrated over recent years. In 2016, when it joined national schools group United Learning, the school had the lowest progress score in the London Borough of Barnet. By summer 2022, the school had celebrated jumping to the top of the local league tables for its Progress 8 score of +1.03 – a score which puts it in the top 1.2% of schools nationally. 

As part of the Awards process, the academy has proved it is more than just an academic success story. Alongside the core curriculum, students benefit from a range of opportunities to excel as individuals and gain new experiences as part of a supportive school community. This includes initiatives such as the academy’s bespoke on-site farm, which was set up with the charity GROW. Students take part in a range of activities and opportunities on the farm, such as AQA accredited courses, harvesting crops, learning about sustainable food growing and transporting the fresh produce to their school kitchen to enjoy it as part of their school lunches. 

Chris Fairbairn, Principal at The Totteridge Academy, said:

“Reaching the shortlist for ‘Secondary School of the Year’ is a huge achievement and recognises the community and culture we have built here at The Totteridge Academy. We have worked hard to make our school a place where students feel happy, valued and included, excited to learn and prepared for their futures. 

“For us, this means balancing an academically rigorous curriculum with a nurturing and inclusive environment. We really want to foster a love of learning which will stay with each student throughout their lives, no matter what path they choose or career they pursue.

“The school we have now is down to the hard work of our students and staff. I know they will all be eagerly anticipating the results of the awards ceremony in June, but as headteacher, I am just immensely proud of everyone for what they continue to achieve.”

Tes editor and chief judge of the Tes Schools Awards Jon Severs said: 

"With these awards, we honour the education community, whom we have served for over 112 years. This year has seen some incredibly high-quality entries. So every teacher and school who has been named in this shortlist should be very proud – it’s a fantastic achievement.

"We are looking forward to showcasing, as we do every year, just how vital our education professionals are to every facet of this country. Teachers, leaders and support staff all play such an important role in schools: this is our chance to say thank you for all that they do."

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