ISA Awards 2024

 
 

ISA Awards

The ISA Awards is an annual event that celebrates success in our Members’ schools, and recognises the breadth of quality and provision in independent education across the UK.

They offer an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your school’s high quality provision, and to celebrate your success with staff and fellow ISA Members. The Awards also allow you to promote your achievements both to existing and prospective parents, and the wider community, by providing schools with national publicity and the chance to proudly promote this via their own marketing platforms.


ISA Awards 2024

Now open for entries!

The deadline for entries is Monday 29 July 2024.

Only schools with a Head in ISA Membership are eligible to enter. We welcome entries from all ISA Members and are happy to receive entries from previous winners and shortlisted schools. Schools may enter up to four award categories.

Highly commended entries will be announced in September and will receive a certificate and logo to use for their marketing purposes.

Our three finalists per award will also be announced in September. The winners are announced at our Awards Ceremony, which is held at the Autumn Study Conference in November.

This year’s categories are as follows:

 

Awards Categories: 

ISA Award for Excellence and Innovation in Early Years

Applications are sought from schools that can evidence the outstanding quality of their Early Years setting (open to any ISA school with Early Years, Pre-Prep or Nursery provision, including Reception). Evidence can be wide-ranging and may include EYFS inspection outcomes, value-added data, or evidence for innovation in all aspects of EYFS setting. Other criteria for this award include: nurturing a love of learning through innovative and engaging practices; developing confident, curious, and resilient young individuals; leading the way in fostering creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking; and making a positive impact on the lives of your youngest learners.

*ISA Junior School of the Year Award

ISA Junior or Prep schools are among the best in the country, but this award isn’t about resources or buildings. To be ISA Junior School of the Year, applicants will be able to demonstrate how their school makes a positive difference to the outcomes of the children in its care. Those outcomes can be in any/multiple areas of a school’s operation, such as special educational needs, sport, the arts, curriculum, or the co-curriculum. It could be sustained excellence in personal or academic outcomes, or even the success of an individual child over and above expectations. The winner of this prestigious award will be able to demonstrate the clear cause-and-effect between decisions made by the school and the exceptional outcomes achieved. You don’t have to enter other awards categories to be eligible for this award.

 

*Ages 0-13

*ISA Senior School of the Year Award

ISA Senior schools are among the best in the country, but as in the Junior Award, this isn’t about investment in resources or buildings. To be the ISA Senior School of the Year, applicants will be able to demonstrate how the school makes a positive difference to the outcomes of the pupils in its care. Those outcomes can be in any/multiple areas of a school’s operation, such as special educational needs, sport, the arts, curriculum or the co-curriculum. It could be sustained excellence in personal or academic outcomes, or even the success of an individual pupil over and above expectations. The winner of this prestigious award will be able to demonstrate the clear cause-and-effect between decisions made by the school and the exceptional outcomes achieved. You don’t have to enter other awards categories to be eligible for this award.

 

*ages 11-18

ISA SEND School of the Year Award

To be the ISA SEND School of the Year, applicants should be able to demonstrate how they recognise and celebrate inclusive practices and empower their pupils. Schools applying for this award may wish to say what they do to recognise each child’s needs, what imaginative support they have put in to match those needs, how they monitor progress, or how they help all their staff to have an input into each student's development. Entrants are encouraged to show clear outcomes for each pupil, and to provide some success stories that may demonstrate innovative approaches (these do not have to be linked to exam results). 

ISA Boarding School of the Year Award

To be the ISA Boarding School of the Year, applicants will be able to demonstrate how their school makes a positive difference to the wellbeing and outcomes of their students. The winner of this award will be able to demonstrate the clear cause-and-effect between boarding opportunities and experiences, and the exceptional outcomes achieved. This could be in the form of specific case studies and/or statistical analysis.

ISA Award for Outstanding Sport (*Small School)

Applications are sought from small schools that demonstrate evidence of their outstanding sporting provision in relation to opportunities offered to pupils. Judges are looking for schools that have successfully implemented an all-round and/or innovative approach to sport, and applicants are strongly encouraged to demonstrate how their school encourages a culture of participation and inclusivity in sport, as well as outlining individual sporting achievements. 

 

*Under 100 pupils, or, single-form entry and under 200 pupils.

 

ISA Award for Outstanding Sport (*Large School)

Applications are sought from large schools that demonstrate evidence of their outstanding sporting provision in relation to opportunities offered to pupils. Judges are looking for schools that have successfully implemented an all-round and/or innovative approach to sport, and entrants are strongly encouraged to demonstrate how their school encourages a culture of participation and inclusivity in sport, as well as outlining individual sporting achievements. 

 

*Over 100 pupils, or, multiple-form entry and over 200 pupils.

ISA Award for Excellence in Performing Arts

Judges are looking for evidence of going the extra mile in terms of performing arts provision and achievement, including innovative teaching techniques, or an offering of extraordinary opportunities for all pupils, with clear evidence of how this has helped to enhance their learning. This category covers dance, drama, instrumental music and choral singing. Schools wishing to apply may evidence just one or all of these areas.

ISA Award for Excellence in Fine Arts and Design

Judges are looking for evidence of going the extra mile in terms of art and design provision and achievement, including innovative teaching techniques, or an offering of extraordinary opportunities for all pupils, with clear evidence of how this has helped to enhance their learning. This category covers fine art, sculpture, design and photography. Again, schools wishing to apply may evidence just one or all of these areas.

ISA Award for Outstanding Engagement in the Community

Applications are sought from schools that can evidence an outstanding contribution to the wider community, and the positive impact it has on all those involved. This could include local community projects, partnerships with state schools, sharing best practice or facilities, initiatives with schools and communities overseas and whole-school charitable work.

ISA Award for Future Readiness

Judges will look for schools that are instilling transferable life skills in their students, which could be gained from extra-curricular activities, technical training or any other initiatives. Schools can include projects that develop pupils’ mental agility and resilience, provided there is evidence of how this prepares them for the challenges of a changing future. This award is open to all educational phases.

ISA Award for Excellence and Innovation in Equality Diversity and Inclusion

Applications are sought from schools that can evidence a commitment to promote equality, diversity and inclusion for all pupils and staff, regardless of any protected characteristics (including age, disability, gender, ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or background). Judges will be looking for innovative ways that schools celebrate diversity and promote inclusion throughout the whole school community. This may be through initiatives such as transforming staff recruitment and retention, a whole school focus on a culture of inclusion, pupil-led projects, diversifying the curriculum, or increasing diversity on the governing body.

ISA Award for Excellence and Innovation in Mental Health and Wellbeing

This Award welcomes applications from schools with forward-thinking methods of ensuring pupil and staff wellbeing. Judges will be looking for innovative projects that schools have implemented to support pupils and staff with mental health issues, as well as evidence of how the school promotes a whole-school positive culture. This may include projects involving mindfulness or resilience, or initiatives that help with prevention and enhance student and staff welfare, self-esteem and inclusion within the school.

ISA Award for Excellence in Sustainability

This Award encourages applications from schools that have engaged with environmental education within the curriculum or have demonstrated their green credentials in reducing their carbon footprint or working in the community or further afield to improve habitats and encourage biodiversity. Schools should demonstrate how they are inspiring the next generation, to make the changes necessary to avoid the irreversible impact that global warming will have on our planet.

ISA Award for Innovation in Independent Education

Independence gives ISA Members the opportunity to do things differently where it will be in the best interests of their pupils. It means they can tailor what they offer to the young people in their care and provide a personalised and high-quality education for them. This award is designed to celebrate the different ways that schools across our membership have been able to offer innovative approaches to education.

Applicants are encouraged to demonstrate ways in which their school is developing and implementing innovative approaches to education. Judges will be happy to consider innovation in the broadest sense. They will be looking for evidence of both innovative approaches and the positive impact on pupils.

 

ISA Awards 2024 – Rules for Entry

(Please read the rules for entering carefully before submitting your entry)

Entry requirements:

  • When completing your entry, you should provide written evidence explaining why your school should be considered for the nomination (no more than 1000 words). This may be based on either a number of initiatives, or on one specific project. We encourage applicants to provide evidence of their claims, through examples of tangible outcomes or conclusive data.
  • Only schools with a Head in ISA Membership are eligible to enter. We welcome entries from all ISA Members and are happy to receive entries from previous winners and shortlisted schools.
  • Schools may enter up to four award categories. You must complete one form per entry. Entries should be submitted no later than Monday 29 July 2024.
  • Entries must not exceed 1000 words (per category) and must be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF.
  • Please note the maximum file size is 10MB – please make sure your files are saved in an appropriate format.

Supporting Evidence:

  • Schools that wish to submit supporting evidence alongside their entry are allowed one image, and one URL link per entry. Any other evidence that exceeds this amount will not be considered.
  • The URL should be included in your main entry text (this will not be counted towards your overall word count) and should link to a PDF file or external website page.
  • You must upload your photo into the entry form as a JPEG or PNG file. The maximum file size is 10MB.

Judging process:

The panel of judges will score each entry against the judging criteria below and from the highest scoring entries they will select a winner and two finalists. Judges will also be invited to award a highly commended entry for each category. For a better chance of success, entrants should consider these criteria when writing their entries.
 
Judging criteria (each scored out of 10) 

  1. Originality and innovation 
  2. Success of implementation 
  3. Evidence of the positive impact 

General information:

  • The criteria for each category indicate some examples of elements that could be included, but this list is not exhaustive.
  • Judging will take place during the summer. The highly commended entries will be announced in September and will receive a certificate and logo to use for their marketing purposes. The three finalists per award will also be announced in September.
  • The winners are announced at the ISA Awards Ceremony, which is held at the Autumn Study Conference in November. All finalists are strongly encouraged to attend the ceremony. 
  • Please note due to the volume of entries and broad spectrum of applications we receive, the judges are unable to provide individual feedback on entries. ISA will publish the reasons for the judges’ decisions after they are announced at the Awards Ceremony.
  • Trophies will be awarded for the winner in each category. Display certificates will be awarded to all winners, finalists and highly commended entries in each category.

If you have any questions that are not answered in the guidelines above, please contact ISA.