In order to help impoverished families, a primary school in a seaside town in Wales opened a pay-what-you-can grocery store, laundrette and uniform store. This school is now competing for a prestigious international education award.
The UK has six schools on the top 10 shortlists for the T4 Education World’s Best School awards, more than any other nation in the world, including Cadoxton Primary School in Barry, south Wales.
Along with a primary school in West Yorkshire, the Welsh state school has been nominated as one of the greatest in the world for overcoming adversity.
With a renewed emphasis on the arts and music, Bradford’s Feversham Primary Academy, which was a failing school in 2011, is now a success story and is competing for the award.
The five World’s Best awards, which recognise innovation, overcoming adversity, environmental action, and promoting healthy lifestyles, each carry a cash prize of 50,000 US dollars (£40,000).
A state secondary school in Scotland named Dunoon Grammar School won the international award for civic engagement the previous year.
Janet Hayward, executive headteacher of Cadoxton Primary School, told the PA news agency: “Overcoming adversity is something that’s really important for us in the school so it’s fantastic to be recognised for it.”
The “pay as you feel” food store, which opened its doors in a shipping container outside the school community hall in June 2020, is run by kids and parents.
More than 60 other schools in Wales have received aid from the school in opening their own Big Bocs Bwyd (Big Food Box) stores to benefit families.
In light of the cost-of-living crisis, Ms. Hayward has observed an increase in demand for the services. Many families claim that it is their only hope, she said. Without it, they are unsure of how they would survive.
Each kid at Feversham Primary Academy, where almost 90% of students have English as a second language, has access to a musical instrument and lessons during their time there.
The school’s English and maths test scores improved as a result of the investment in the arts, according to Jimmy Rotheram, the music director at Feversham.
He told PA: “Music plays a really powerful part in the development of language and singing in particular.
“A lot of our children come in speaking very little English so we have to do a lot of extra work in teaching them to speak and write English. Music is incredibly good for this because it slows the language down and makes it more accessible to people.”
Mr Rotheram added: “To take the music and arts away would be an own goal. I think schools are scoring an own goal when they are not providing music.”
This year’s competition for the community collaboration award includes both Barham Primary School, a public school in north London, and ACS International School Cobham, a private school in Surrey.
Cardiff Sixth Form College has been shortlisted for the prize supporting healthy living, while Sedgefield Hardwick Primary Academy in County Durham has been shortlisted for the innovation category.
Vikas Pota, founder of T4 Education, said: “The schools shortlisted for the World’s Best School Prizes, no matter where they can be found or what they teach, all have one thing in common.
“They all have a strong school culture. Their leaders know how to attract and motivate exceptional educators, inspire change, and build excellent teaching and learning environments.”
He added: “Schools across the globe will learn from the story of these trail-blazing UK institutions and the culture they have cultivated.”
For each of the five awards, the top three finalists will be revealed in September, and the winners will be revealed in October.
The winners of the five categories will each receive an equal share of a prize worth 250000 US dollars (200000 GBP).