Newham schools scoop national awards

Kensington was announced the winner in an online awards ceremony. Picture: TES

Kensington was announced the winner in an online awards ceremony. Picture: TES - Credit: Archant

Two schools have won national awards on one of the biggest nights in the education calendar.

Kensington's award. Picture: TES

Kensington's award. Picture: TES - Credit: Archant

Forest Gate Community School in Forest Lane scooped English team of the year while Kensington Primary in East Ham won the wellbeing and mental health gong in the TES School Awards.

Teachers at Forest Gate Community report beating “incredible odds” to achieve “outstanding” results in an English department which Ofsted described as “high performing”.

The team’s award also celebrates the legacy of a leader who had her own incredible odds to beat.

English teacher and assistant headteacher Shamimara Uddin was given months to live after a cancer diagnosis in 2015, but she continued teaching and passed away two years later.

Forest Gate Communtity School's award. Picture: Tes

Forest Gate Communtity School's award. Picture: Tes - Credit: Archant


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Ms Uddin maintained it was her love of the job and pupils which kept her going.

Headteacher Thahmina Begum said: “It’s very emotional to win the award. The English teachers are an incredible team and have worked incredibly hard.

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“Shamimara Uddin laid the foundations and what we’ve achieved here is her legacy. She was a close friend and my mentor: this award is for her.”

Kensington Primary was singled out after headteacher, Ben Levinson, developed Curriculum K to put children’s physical and mental health first.

Thahmina Begum is headteacher at Forest Gate Community School. Picture: Tom Barnes

Thahmina Begum is headteacher at Forest Gate Community School. Picture: Tom Barnes - Credit: Tom Barnes

The curriculum challenges the difficult conditions many of the school’s pupils face - in 2018, Newham had the lowest life expectancy and the highest rate of heart disease of all London boroughs.

Lead judge for the category, clinical psychologist Dr Tara Porter, praised the school’s wellbeing ethos and the headteacher’s “enormous efforts”, adding: “He’s really looked at how to rethink the whole curriculum to put the wellbeing of the children at the centre of what they do.”

Mr Levinson said: “As with everyone in education, it’s been an incredibly difficult 10 months. It’s been so inspiring how the whole community has pulled together.

“We started Curriculum K before anyone had even heard of coronavirus, but it’s thrown our work into sharper focus.

“This is such a huge boost for everybody – we’re all so excited. This award is the fulcrum of everything we set out to achieve. If children aren’t mentally and physically well, they are not going to be able to learn.”

Tes Schools Awards chief judge and editor of Tes magazine, Ann Mroz, said: “The awards are the Oscars of education, recognising and celebrating everything that’s great about our schools and school staff.”

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