Chalk Talk: The awards that celebrate the best in British schools – not forgetting the dinner ladies


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The Independent Online

The education awards season and the celebrations that go with it are still in full swing. (Memo to teaching staff: better make the most of it this year because the cuts could be about to bite.)

The one that caught my eye was the award for school security – part of the Business Education Awards – which is sponsored by the recruitment experts It went to a school in Sheffield – Dinnington Community Primary School – as reward for installing 15 CCTV cameras during the year.

Normally, I would think this was a bit big brother-ish, but apparently the school has been having a problem with trespassers, who have been causing damage to its premises, and burgling items from it.

In its latest report on the school, education standards watchdog Ofsted made a point of mentioning that the children feel safe in school.

If they did not beforehand, then I guess that is something we should be celebrating.

The awards, which were supported by The Independent, did at least come up with one or two innovative ideas for awards that are absent from other awards schemes.

For instance, there was a school catering award, which went to a primary school in Hampshire – Crondall – that had banned fatty foods from the menu long before the TV chef Jamie Oliver took up the cudgel on behalf of school dinners. "Nothing fried or processed enters their kitchen," says the school's citation.

While talking about celebrations, the annual Schools Proms also deserves a mention.

More than 3,000 budding musicians and singers – along with their proud teachers– graced the Royal Albert Hall with their presence last week. They nearly brought the house down with an inspiring array of rock, orchestral and brass band music over three nights. It conjured up the atmosphere of an upmarket version of The X Factor.

One person, though, who failed to bring the house down (or at least did not bring it down in the same way) was our Education Secretary Michael Gove, who was booed when he made an appearance on the first night.

Shame! Gove is known to be a fan of music education, but then I guess all those who were gathered at the Albert Hall that night are in the best position to know how spending cuts will affect their service.