The MEN Schools Awards are back for 2022, as we search for examples of the amazing work being done in Manchester schools. The awards, hosted by Manchester Evening News, and with headline sponsor One Education, will be held on July 8. For more information, visit the official website.
The awards give schools and educators a chance to have their accomplishments recognized – whether it’s the adoption of a new, innovative curriculum, a dedication to student wellbeing, or the forming of positive relationships with the wider community. The awards allow for a range of educational achievements to be recognized – such as our 2019 winner of Secondary School of the Year, Piper Hill.
A school for children with different special education needs, Piper Hill strives to provide a bespoke learning experience that helps all of its students reach their full potential. We spoke to headteacher, Louise Lynn, about Piper Hill’s win, and the school’s ethos.
Louise believes Piper Hill’s ability to help students thrive is in part down to incredible teamwork, and the presence of development opportunities for staff. She said: “We work incredibly well as a team – both in school and externally with families and the community. We have an incredible cpd and training package for all our staff at every level – right from the induction of new teachers.”
Piper Hill is also dedicated to the development and wellbeing of students – offering a bespoke curriculum that meets the specific needs of each pupil. There are also a range of activities that give students the chance to develop their social skills, as well as acquiring skills for life.
The MEN Schools Awards give us the perfect opportunity to celebrate the outstanding work of schools across Greater Manchester – and the headline sponsor of this year’s awards is One Education.
One Education is dedicated to helping schools create a learning environment in which students and staff can flourish. Providing specialist services in a range of areas – including school business management, teaching and learning, welfare services and special educational needs – One Education works to meet a school’s specific needs, and make learning fulfilling for everyone involved.
Chief executive at One Education, Stuart Fern said: “Working alongside schools, it is always inspiring to see so many teachers, support staff, and leadership teams working so effectively to improve children’s education experience and really make ‘putting children first’ happen.
“It’s down to their dedication that children have the chance to reach their full potential and change their lives for the better, forever! That is why One Education is so proud to take part in this celebration of excellence within schools and recognize the achievements of colleagues and pupils throughout the region.”
Louise said: “The school works quite closely vocationally with external partners – so our students have real life work experiences” – and offers residential trips alongside programs such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award. “Our curriculum works around the students and not the other way around.”
Despite the obstacles of the pandemic, Piper Hill continued to offer students and families tailored support to help them through a difficult time. Every student at Piper Hill has an ECHP – so while most students were able to access the school at some point, for those who were not there was continued support from Piper Hill – alongside the provision of remote learning, online resource packs and in-school enrichment opportunities.
Louise continued: “Where we may have gone out to local farms or local shops – we’ve had to look at bringing those experiences into school. We’ve had live Zooms to classes – we’ve had musical groups come into school, musical therapists – we’ve been getting creative and looking at how we can offer those experiences and enrichment opportunities in a very safe way.”
Piper Hill’s commitment to the flourishing and wellbeing of students has seen it awarded “outstanding” four times in a row by Ofsted – as well as the One Education Wellbeing Gold Award.
With the Covid-19 pandemic easing, the school’s focus is on bringing back external experiences for students – particularly the residential trips, which give them a chance to stay away from home in a safe and family setting, and to have experiences crucial to personal development .
Louise adds: “We really enjoyed our time at the awards – it was great to get that recognition for all of our students and staff and the community. It was a great experience that hopefully someone else will get to enjoy this time.”
There are schools like Piper Hill all across Manchester, dedicated to ensuring their students are given the best opportunities possible, as well as the support they need to learn and develop. If you think your school is worthy of notice – or you know of one that is – we want to hear from you. Submit a nomination for the awards via the official website. Entries will close May 12
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.