Categories & criteria

Lifetime achievement 

This award will reward someone who has made a significant contribution to education. It could be a well-known figure or a local hero. In your submission, explain exactly what the individual has achieved in their career and why you feel they deserve the trophy. 

Your nomination should include at least three independent testimonials. Please check with the nominee beforehand that they are happy to have their name put forward.

Headteacher of the year

All schools benefit from great leadership – and if your school has a successful and inspirational headteacher, we want to know. In your submission, detail all the elements that make them a fantastic leader, including staff development, academic and other achievements, community engagement and all the aspects that go into creating a truly successful school. Please include at least three independent testimonials. Video submissions are welcomed, but these should not exceed 90 seconds. 

Nominations can come from heads themselves or from governors, teaching staff or parents. If you are nominating someone else, please check in advance that they are happy to have their name put forward.

Bev Evans resource author of the year

We are looking for TES’s stand-out resource author. Anyone who has uploaded resources – free or premium -- to the TES website will be automatically entered; there is no formal entry process.  

The independent external  judging panel will look at not only the most popular resources throughout the year, but also at those authors who have best matched popularity with quality and delivered truly outstanding resources to the international education community. 

*The award is named after Bev Evans, a prolific TES resources author who died in 2014. Bev created more than 1,000 resources, which have been downloaded almost 8 million times around the world.

English teacher or team of the year

If you or your school team has found an innovative way to teach literacy and English, tell us all about it. The judges will want to see clear, quantifiable evidence of the success of any initiative and will also look at how your work has promoted your subject within your school or community. We are looking for teachers and teams who have created a sense of enthusiasm about the study of English – amongst students and colleagues -- while also delivering excellent results.

* The supporting documentation should contain a minimum of three case studies for students (any school phase) who have progressed and shown real achievement.

Maths teacher or team of the year

Imaginative teaching and clear evidence of successful outcomes – that’s what we’re looking for with this particular award. The judges will not only want to see proof of how you have helped students to make progress in maths, but also how you have created a buzz around your subject. We want to know how you have made children excited about studying maths, and colleagues excited about teaching it.

* The supporting documentation should contain a minimum of three case studies for students (any school phase) who have progressed and shown real achievement.

Science, technology and engineering teacher or team of the year

This award recognises excellence and innovative teaching in science, technology or engineering. Judges will want to see clear examples of innovation and quantifiable evidence of the success of any initiative. They will also be on the lookout for how you have increased the status of your subject, whether by encouraging more students to pursue careers in STEM or by leading whole-school events to make science, technology and engineering more visible.

* The supporting documentation should contain a minimum of three case studies for students (any school phase) who have progressed and shown real achievement.

Community impact award

If your school is outward facing, then this award is for you. We are looking for schools that can show how they work with and support their parents and local people.

Judges will need to see evidence of effective engagement and a demonstration of how the school is the beating heart of its community. Please supply a minimum of three testimonials from members of the local community.

Collaboration award

This award is for the very best partnership scheme. We need to see evidence of successful collaboration with other schools, local businesses, universities or colleges. The judges will be looking for projects that demonstrate creativity, energy and a business-like approach in delivering great results.

International award

This award is for the school with the most innovative international strategy. This can be an initiative to improve pupils’ and teachers’ understanding of other countries, languages and cultures or a full-scale international partnership.

You will need to demonstrate the impact this strategy has had across the school and the wider community. The judges will be keen to see clear achievements and quantifiable evidence of the success of any initiatives. 

Digital innovation/ed tech school of the year

This award recognises measurable excellence in the use of education technology by a school. Judges will be looking for evidence that the technology has had a positive impact on educational outcomes of students through its use inside or outside the classroom, supporting teaching and learning directly or by easing the pressure on teachers and administrators.

Creative school of the year

We would like to see entries from schools that put creativity at the heart of their work. 

This isn’t about individual projects in art, drama, music or design – although it could take in one or all of these subjects – this is about making children think differently, beyond the strictures of the conventional curriculum. 

Ideally, schools that enter should have taken a whole-school or cross-curricular approach to one or more projects and seen a blossoming in creativity in their pupils.

While, of course, creativity is hard to measure, we would like to see evidence that the scheme or schemes has benefited either the entire school, the targeted group of pupils and/or the wider community.

Healthy school of the year

This award recognises a teacher or school with clear evidence of the value of adopting a healthy food and physical activity culture.  Entries should highlight the link between physical activity, food education and the food that is served within the school, as well as any benefits and links to other curricular areas.

Essentially, the judges are looking at how the individual or school has raised the bar in the area of sport, food education and school food. The judges will want to see brilliant new ideas and evidence of achievements. Entries are welcome from school departments or from any partner organisations working with them.

* The supporting documentation should contain a case study illustrating the whole school approach to physical activity and food, including involvement from not only children and teachers but parents, families and the wider community.  Entries should also show where other curricular areas have benefited. 

Early years setting of the year

Judges will want to see that the early-years setting is at the centre of its community and parents are as involved and enthusiastic about the setting as the children who attend it. 

It will be a given that it is excellent at offering the prime areas of learning – communication and language; physical development; and personal social and emotional development. 

Provide evidence that your setting brings something unique to the mix in terms of creativity and innovation that is at the heart of early-years education.

All early-years settings are eligible.

Primary school of the year 

For primary schools, the key challenge is sparking a love for learning and nurturing it until it burns brightly with a power of its own.

Has your school notched up great achievements? Have you shone out among other schools in the area? Did you blaze a trail of improvement?  Using evidence to support your case, tell us the secrets of your success. Was it down to innovative ways of working; parental involvement; pure grit and determination – or something else? However you did it, if you believe your school stood out during 2015-16, we want to know.  

Secondary school of the year 

This title will be awarded to a secondary school for its performance in the previous 12 months; however, it is equally applicable to those that have experienced rapid improvement and those that are maintaining continued excellence. The judges want to see more than academic achievement: entries should demonstrate innovation, imagination and efforts to develop children in ways that go beyond the league tables. You should provide evidence to support your application, be it Ofsted reports, parent testimonials, data analysis or anything else you feel would be relevant.

Alternative-provision school of the year 

Alternative Provision units (SEN/EBD schools and PRUs) provide invaluable support to students. Teachers in these units work every day to make sure that students who may not be able to attend conventional school do not go without the great educational experience they deserve. This award is open to any type of standalone alternative provision (schools for students with special educational needs or emotional and behavioural difficulties, and pupil referral units). 

In your submission, tell us why the academic year 2015-16 has been outstanding for your unit, citing successes and improvements. We would like quantifiable evidence to support your case.  For example, you may have had improvements in attendance levels, staff retention, parental engagement or student success. You may have developed new and innovative ways to support students in their learning, helped them engage with their local community, including business, or you may want to tell us something else entirely. We want to look beyond traditional methods of measurements and celebrate success and innovation in alternative provision.

Overall school of the year

This is the big one, the best of the best, the most coveted trophy of all. The winners of the Early Years, Primary, Secondary and Alternative Provision School of the Year will be automatically entered for this award. The winner will be announced as the finale to the awards evening.