The 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 country.

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.


The ISA Awards 2021

Judging is currently in progress. The highly commended entries will be announced in September and will receive a certificate. The three finalists per award will also be announced in September, and 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:

(You can view the criteria for each category by clicking the award titles)

 ISA Award for Excellence and Innovation in Early Years (returning for 2021)

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 or value-added data, or evidence for innovation in provision with an emphasis on the curriculum.

*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 educational 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 ISA Senior School of the Year, applicants will be able to demonstrate how the school makes a positive difference to the educational 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 11-18

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 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.

*one class per year group

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 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.

*more than one class per year group

ISA Award for Excellence and Innovation 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 and Innovation in Fine Arts

Judges are looking for evidence of going the extra mile in terms of fine 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 fine art, sculpture, design and photography. Again, schools wishing to apply may evidence just one or all of these areas.

ISA Award for Outstanding Provision for Learning Support

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 child’s development. Entrants are encouraged to show clear outcomes for each child, and to provide some success stories (these do not have to be linked to exam results).

ISA Award for Excellence in Pupil Personal Development 

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

ISA Award for Outstanding Local Community Involvement

Applications are sought from schools that can evidence an outstanding local community contribution, and the positive impact it has on all those involved. This could be through community projects, state partnership working, sharing best practice or facilities.

ISA Award for Outstanding International Involvement

Applications are sought from schools that can evidence an outstanding international contribution, and the positive impact it has on all those involved. This could be through charitable work, engagement in overseas projects, and innovative teaching.

ISA Award for Excellence and Innovation in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (new for 2021)

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, student-led projects, diversifying the curriculum, or increasing diversity on the governing body.

ISA Award for Excellence and Innovation in Mental Health and Wellbeing (returning for 2021)

The Award welcomes applications from schools with forward-thinking methods of ensuring Pupil and Staff Wellbeing. In particular, judges will look for innovative projects implemented throughout the Coronavirus pandemic that helped support pupils and staff with resilience, anxiety, prevention and work and home life balance.


Judges  

Julie Robinson

Paul Moss

Andrew Hammond

Professor Samantha Twiselton