23 June 2018

The ASP was very proud to be shortlisted for the 2018 Times Educational Supplement Schools Awards in the Communities and Collaboration category.

This was a real recognition of what has been achieved in just a few years since the ASP officially started and a great way to celebrate the growing partnerships between Abingdon School and the local community. The core ASP team, consisting of ASP Co-ordinator Jeremy Thomas; Science Co-ordinator Richard Fisher; Head of Biology Simon Bliss; Senior Science Technician Grant Baldwin and ASP Graduate Assistant Megan Milarski, was accompanied to the gala night at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London by representatives of key, partner organisations. These included Sophie Batin of Science Oxford; Mark Thornton, Interim Chair of the Abingdon ATOM Festival; Sam Henry of the Department of Physics at Oxford University; Claire Hamnett, Leader of the Oxfordshire Science Learning Partnership and Holly Irving of Caldecott Primary, representing the Ogden Trust Abingdon Primary Science Partnership.

Some of the ASP staff also bought tickets for their own partners in recognition of the support and encouragement they give, especially when events fall outside normal school hours. The grand surroundings of the Grosvenor House Hotel were a fitting venue in which to celebrate the best of British schools in 2018.

Hosted by comedian Al Murray, the awards ceremony was opened with speeches by Anne Mrosz, Editor of TES, and The Right Honourable Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education. Altogether, the amazing contribution to education of around one hundred schools was recognised, with eight shortlisted in each of the fifteen categories.

Sadly, Abingdon School and the ASP did not win this year, but were very happy to take joint second place, with the other seven in our category, and to enjoy the privilege of being at the event. It was a particularly significant year for one of the winning schools and very humbling for everyone present when The Kensington and Chelsea Academy won the award for Significant Contributions to Education in recognition of their superhuman efforts in rebuilding a school from scratch, between the time of the catastrophic fire at the Grenfell Tower in June 2017 and the start of the new academic year in September.

Their first standing ovation was followed by a second when they were also given the Best Secondary School Award for achieving an Outstanding Ofsted rating within months of re-opening. It was a privilege to be there and to be part of such an enthusiastic and optimistic group of people working together for the futures of all young people in our country. It was also very funny to hear Al Murray ask the Secretary of State's policy advisor if he had ever been a teacher and to get the inevitably negative response in a room packed with nearly a thousand classroom practitioners!

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