Two United Learning schools have been shortlisted for the prestigious TES Schools Awards, which take place on Friday 22 June. The Totteridge Academy and Hull Collegiate School have been nominated for ‘Maths Team of the Year’ and the ‘International Award’ respectively.
The national awards recognise the most outstanding individuals and institutions that the state and independent sectors have to offer, with a hugely competitive range of applications each year.
The maths team at The Totteridge Academy has had a transformative 18 months since the school joined United Learning and new Principal Chris Fairbairn took up post. Their complete overhaul of the school’s maths provision has led to significant improvements in student attainment. In 2016, only 55% of students achieved a pass in their Maths GCSE. By 2017, following an intensive programme of intervention and changes in teaching and learning practice, 73% of students achieved at least a 4 – the equivalent of the old ‘C’ grade. Staff credit the considerable jump in results to a new ideology; believing that each and every child can achieve a strong maths GCSE.
Students have fed back very positively on their experience of the new maths provision. One of last year’s Year 11s said his teacher had “motivated me to work all throughout this year” and that he had got the grade he was hoping for.
Chris Fairbairn, Principal at The Totteridge Academy, said of the news:
“As anyone at the school knows, we have made huge strides forward at The Totteridge Academy and the impact on students’ results so far has been fantastic. Our staff have been key drivers of this change and work tirelessly each day to ensure that students get the most out of every lesson. I am delighted that our maths team in particular have been recognised in the TES shortlist for their excellent work; the difference they have made to their students’ attitudes and school experience is inspiring to see.”
Meanwhile, Hull Collegiate School was shortlisted for its ground-breaking Safi Coffee initiative, which was born out of the school’s partnership with the Great Lakes High School in Uganda. Since 2010, the school has been sponsoring 25 children at Great Lakes High School, and every other year a team of Sixth Formers and teachers travel from Hull in order to teach and support pupils in the Kanungu District.
Whilst volunteering in 2015, the Hull Collegiate pupils discovered that the coffee grown in this region of Uganda was amongst the best in the world, due to the high altitude and mineral-rich soil. This sparked a ground-breaking idea: to export beans grown by the Ugandan farmers in the schools’ surrounding areas and sell them to local businesses back in Hull. This would be the first time that these gourmet beans would have made their way to European coffee cups.
Back in Hull, the pupils developed their business idea. They called the product Safi Coffee (Safi means ‘Pure’ and ‘Fresh’ in the Ugandan language of Swahili). They also designed the packaging and logo and worked out a strong business case for selling the coffee locally. The initiative was officially launched in September 2017 and since then over a ton of Safi Coffee has been sold.
Alex Wilson, Headmistress of Hull Collegiate School, said:
“This is a wonderful achievement and I am so proud of everyone who has been involved in the Safi Coffee project. Not only has this initiative made a tangible difference to the farmers and children living in Uganda, it has had a hugely positive impact on our pupils. It has taught them the importance of compassion, altruism and enterprise – attributes which we seek to instil in our pupils through our commitment to deliver an Education with Character.”
The winners will be revealed at the TES’s gala awards evening at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London on Friday 22 June 2018.