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Nominations and Award Categories

Nominations and Award Categories

Core Criteria for All Awards

 Please make sure you evidence these three core criteria in your nomination to give your application the best chance of impressing the judges:

  • Supporting others – We are looking for members of staff/teams who put the pupils, parents and the school community at the heart of everything they do, an individual or team who consistently put others first and lead by example.
  • Having an impact – How has your nomination had a real impact and made a lasting difference to the lives of children and young people and their families in Buckinghamshire?
  • Being innovative – We are looking for members of staff and teams who think big and aim high. Nominations should demonstrate innovative thinking and how the nominee(s) has used creative solutions to issues and challenges.

New Teacher of the Year Award - Sponsored by Bosch

New teachers are the lifeblood of the teaching profession. Bringing bags of new ideas, fresh perspectives and enthusiasm to their school, new teachers can inspire their pupils and have a significant impact on their academic, social and emotional development. Fantastic new teachers have a positive, ‘can-do’ attitude and an openness to learn from those more experience colleagues around them.

The New Teacher of the Year award is open to all Early Career Buckinghamshire teachers – either within their first or second ECT year (or part time equivalent).

Award Criteria 

We are looking for a new teacher who:

  • Demonstrates creativity and a commitment to bringing new ideas to their classroom
  • Has a positive can-do attitude and bags of enthusiasm that makes a big impact on the class and school
  • Inspires their pupils to dream big and aim high
  • Enthusiastically takes on responsibility

Teacher of the Year Award - Sponsored by Supply Desk

The Teacher of the Year award will be presented to an individual who goes above and beyond every single day, engaging all pupils in learning, celebrating uniqueness and diversity, motivating their class to succeed and building their pupils’ trust and confidence. We all remember the one teacher who made a real difference to our lives; they have a passion for teaching, a passion for their subjects and are able to inspire a passion in their pupils.  On top of this, we are looking for individuals who demonstrate genuine warmth, engagement and empathy with all their pupils, make learning fun and accessible and facilitate personal growth and strong self-esteem. 

The Teacher of the Year Award is open to all teachers who hold QTS and work within a Buckinghamshire School. Teachers nominated in this category should have been working as a teacher for at least 2 years.

Award Criteria

We are looking for a teacher who:

  • Consistently demonstrates exceptional teaching and learning knowledge, skills and characteristics
  • Inspires a love of learning and a belief in all their pupils that the sky is the limit
  • Celebrates uniqueness and diversity in their classroom and inspires their pupils to do the same
  • Has an impact beyond the classroom, both on the whole school and wider school community

Teaching Assistant of the Year Award- Sponsored by Wycombe Swan

Teaching Assistants are a core element in the success of every school.  It is a role that provides a huge support to teachers, but more importantly to the pupils, and in particular some of a school’s most vulnerable pupils. 

The Teaching Assistant of the Year will be awarded to an individual who understands and supports the needs of the pupils in their class, breaking down barriers to learning and being a positive support to lives of the pupils and their families.  Teaching Assistants wear so many hats every day and manage these tasks with ease; being a flexible, multi-tasking, resilient, positive, strong communicator with a good ear and a kind heart is key to the job.

The Teaching Assistant of the Year Award is open to all TAs, LSAs and Learning Mentors working within a Buckinghamshire School.

Award Criteria


We are looking for a Teaching Assistant who:

  • Inspires a love of learning and a belief in all their pupils that the sky is the limit
  • Celebrates uniqueness and diversity in their classroom and inspires their pupils to do the same
  • Breaks down barriers to learning in exciting and innovative ways
  • Supports pupils to overcome their own challenges in an inspirational way

Health and Wellbeing Award- Sponsored by LEAP

The last few years have been particularly tough for pupils and staff alike.  The Health and Wellbeing Award celebrates schools who have successfully created a positive culture in which both physical and mental health thrive. This award will go to a school who have a whole school strategy for improving the wellbeing of pupils, who can demonstrate its commitment to promoting health and wellbeing as part of day-to-day school life and have evidence of their success in making health and wellbeing a priority.

The Health and Wellbeing Award is open to all schools within Buckinghamshire. The nominee can be either an inspirational individual or a fantastic team.  We would particularly welcome nominations from schools in areas of Buckinghamshire where there are particular barriers to a healthy lifestyle.

Award Criteria

We are looking for an individual/team who:

  • Have committed to a clear strategy that promotes and protects the physical and emotional health of all pupils and staff
  • Actively champions physical and mental wellbeing for all
  • Has demonstrated both creativity and commitment to the health of the school
  • Ensures systems and partnerships are in place to support the different types of physical and mental health needs within a school

Inclusion Award - Sponsored by Buckinghamshire New University

An inclusive school is one where there is unconditional acceptance of every child; everyone is recognised and appreciated for what they can do, not what they can’t. 

Teachers will have high expectations of what all children and young people can achieve and be creative to allow every child to participate by removing barriers to learning.  

The Inclusion Award will be presented to a school which positively and proactively raises achievement for all, eliminates discrimination, advances equality of opportunity and fosters positive relationships throughout the school and wider community.

The Inclusion Award is open to all schools in Buckinghamshire. The nominee can be either an inspirational individual with a passion for inclusion, or an Inclusion Team who are making a significant impact.

Award Criteria 

We are looking for an individual/team who:

  • Ensures that the school is a welcoming school where all pupils feel valued. Difference is celebrated.
  • Respect and celebrate all pupils’ different learning styles, ensuring all achievements are equally valued
  • Demonstrates creativity and commitment to removing barriers to learning and ensuring all pupils make progress
  • Fosters positive relationships with all stakeholders

School with Excellence in Early Years Award - Sponsored by The Entertainer

A child’s early years are the foundation for their future development, providing a strong base for lifelong learning. A child's experiences in these early years are crucial to their success in later life.

Schools with excellence in Early Years are determined to ensure that every interaction will play an important role in building the understanding and skills children will need, which is fundamental to developing all young children’s knowledge in the prime areas of learning – communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development (PSED). 

The School that will be awarded the Excellence in Early Years Award will ensure children foster their ability to persist and show gritty determination, developing skills which will benefit them throughout their education and the rest of their lives. 

This award is open to all schools within Buckinghamshire with Early Years provision. The nominee can be either an inspirational Early Years practitioner or a fantastic Early Years team. 


Award Criteria

We are looking for an individual practitioner or Early Years team who has developed an ambitious and nurturing curriculum in which: 

  • Practitioners have a strong professional identity, excellent pedagogical leadership, and have developed a strong, co-operative and respectful partnership with parents and carers, as well as other agencies and professionals, to ensure that children thrive and achieve the best outcomes
  • Children build their learning over time, and every child feels successful, proud of their achievements and holds a strong belief in their own worth and value. Children feel safe to flourish and learn
  • A love of learning is inspired through carefully sequenced and developmentally appropriate planned support and cognitive challenges. Nurturing teaching ensures children are valued and experience awe and wonder as they learn and develop
  • Uniqueness and diversity are celebrated, and stereotypical beliefs in the early years are appropriately challenged. Intuitive teaching provides understanding of the different needs and experiences of individual children, their families and their communities

Unsung Heroes Awards - Sponsored by Stoke Park

This award celebrates all those Unsung Heroes working in Buckinghamshire schools – of which we know there are thousands.  This award is open to anyone on a school staff team, other than the Senior Leaders, Teachers and TAs. 

Do you know a member of the catering team who positively enhances the lives of the children at the school? An Office Manager who has bought fresh thinking to the school and revolutionised the school’s administration or a Parent Support Officer who works relentlessly to build relationships and support parents and carers?  If so, we would love to hear from you.

The Unsung Heroes Award is open to all schools within Buckinghamshire. The nominee can be either an inspirational individual or a fantastic team or staff members.

Award Criteria 

We are looking for an individual/team who:

  • Has had a positive impact on the life of the school and its community.
  • Does things differently and always makes a difference.
  • Has a ‘can do’ attitude - working over and above that expected of them, whatever their role.
  • Has made a lasting impact on the lives of children and young people and their families in Buckinghamshire.

Great Governance Award

Great governance is essential for a school to be a success. The governing boards of schools and trustsees give their time, energy and advice in order to shape a better future for children and young people and the communities in which they live. Great governors and trustees work as a team, bringing their skills and experience to the role to create a vision for the school and determine the ethos and strategy to improve outcomes for all. 

This award will celebrate either an individual governor/trustee or a whole governing board that can demonstrate ambition for every child within the school, collaborative working, a determination to add value and an unwavering commitment to continuous improvement.

The Great Governance Award is open to all current governors and trustees within a Buckinghamshire school. The nominee can be either an inspirational individual or whole board. 

Award Criteria 

We are looking for an individual/team who:

  • Has had a positive impact on the life of the school and its community
  • Successfully blends challenge with support and encouragement, focusing on the big picture
  • Collaborate effectively, listen and partner with others, recognising the importance of and building strong relationships with all stakeholders
  • Acts in a way that exemplifies and reinforces the school’s culture, values and ethos

Primary Senior Leadership Team of the Year Award

The Senior Leadership Team set the strategic direction for the school, they create the culture that enables staff to teach, pupils to learn and the whole community to feel safe, valued and enabled to reach great heights. To be successful in one of these two age phases we are looking for a Senior Leadership Team that can demonstrate its clarity of vision, its impact on the school culture and how their high expectations have positively impacted on the whole school community. 

Leadership is more than the School Development Plan; we are also looking for an inspirational team who have created a culture of success, one which puts pupils at the heart of everything they do and where pupils feel safe, happy and thrive.  Staff will recognise their excellent leadership and enjoy working with them. Parents trust them and feel engaged and positive about the school.

The Senior Leadership Award is open to all schools within Buckinghamshire. All-through schools can be nominated in either the primary or secondary category, whichever age phase feels most suitable for the team.

Award Criteria

We are looking for a Senior Leadership Team who:

  • Have an ambitious vision and plan for school, which is shared with the whole school community
  • Have created a culture of success, but also one which puts pupils at the heart of everything that they do
  • Have fantastic open dialogue with all staff and a commitment to creating a strong, professional and positive team
  • Value all staff and support their wellbeing and mental health

Secondary Senior Leadership Team of the Year Award – Sponsored by HYPNOS

The Senior Leadership Team set the strategic direction for the school, they create the culture that enables staff to teach, pupils to learn and the whole community to feel safe, valued and enabled to reach great heights. To be successful in one of these two age phases we are looking for a Senior Leadership Team that can demonstrate its clarity of vision, its impact on the school culture and how their high expectations have positively impacted on the whole school community. 

Leadership is more than the School Development Plan; we are also looking for an inspirational team who have created a culture of success, one which puts pupils at the heart of everything they do and where pupils feel safe, happy and thrive.  Staff will recognise their excellent leadership and enjoy working with them. Parents trust them and feel engaged and positive about the school.

The Senior Leadership Award is open to all schools within Buckinghamshire. All-through schools can be nominated in either the primary or secondary category, whichever age phase feels most suitable for the team.

Award Criteria

We are looking for a Senior Leadership Team who:

  • Have an ambitious vision and plan for school, which is shared with the whole school community
  • Have created a culture of success, but also one which puts pupils at the heart of everything that they do
  • Have fantastic open dialogue with all staff and a commitment to creating a strong, professional and positive team
  • Value all staff and support their wellbeing and mental health

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