VIDEO: Top teaching accolade to Cuckfield school

Teachers were given ‘stars’ for their outstanding work as Mid Sussex’s biggest school received a regional award for the quality of its teaching.

Warden Park Academy Trust, which includes the 1,500-pupil secondary school in Cuckfield and the primary in Haywards Heath, formerly Heyworth School, won the Pearson Teaching Award for Outstanding School Team of the Year for London and the South East.

JPMT 170513   Teaching Awards - Warden Park Academy Trust - outstanding team of the year. Photo by Derek Martin

JPMT 170513 Teaching Awards - Warden Park Academy Trust - outstanding team of the year. Photo by Derek Martin

The award was announced at a special assembly at the primary academy in New England Road where two years of an Ofsted ‘special measures’ status was turned round to a glowing ‘improving’ Ofsted at the end of 2011.

Heyworth became part of the Warden Park Academy Trust in January 2012 and standards have continued to improve. According to the trust, the primary academy is now recognized as a successful and happy school with rapidly improving results. Pupil numbers are set to increase to more than 220 in September from a low of 168 a few years ago.

The Pearson Teaching Awards celebrate exceptional teachers and teaching and were founded in 1999 by Lord Puttnam, CBE. Judges, who visited for a day, said: “For a successful secondary school to support a primary school in this way is a bold and admirable move. What impressed us most was the passion and dedication that all of those involved in this project felt for both schools. The team have done a truly remarkable job and we are sure they will continue to go from strength to strength.”

The primary academy, led by head teacher Steve Davis, worked with Eileen Walling, of the secondary academy, to launch a range of collaborations including French, maths, technology, science, sport, Latin and a bigger library.

The Warden Park Academy Trust team will now join other regional winners at the UK final of the Teaching Awards on October 20, filmed in London and broadcast by the BBC.

President of Pearson UK Rod Bristow said: “We want to recognise and support inspirational teachers, for their commitment to teaching and learning and improving the life chances of the next generation. It’s really important that we create opportunities to say thank you.”

Chief executive officer of the trust Steve Johnson presented the award to Steve Davis, Eileen Walling, primary academy deputy head Beth Armstrong, and primary academy assistant head, Shirley Gardner.

Pupils gave staff star-shaped balloons at the ceremony last Friday as part of ‘Thank a Teacher Day’.