Royal Grammar School

Newcastle

Good Work and Progress

Good Work and Progress


No. I don’t quite understand what it was about, either. But I found myself yesterday in central London, at a posh hotel near St Paul’s, at the Education Business Awards organised by the PSi (Public Sector Information) Group. Hosted by someone constantly introduced to us as “the lovely Cheryl Baker” (she of Bucks Fizz fame), some 250 of us enjoyed a lengthy lunch followed by presentations of some 20 education business awards.

I’d been invited only a couple of weeks before, having been informed by the organisers that the RGS was nominated for an award under the “Outstanding Progress Award – Independent Schools” category. The programme said this was “presented to the UK independent school that has made outstanding progress in the management of its facilities, finances and human resources and can demonstrate an increase in the educational performance of the school”. 

Well, however their researchers discovered us, we probably can boast to have been doing pretty well in those categories. We were up against four other schools, all powerful names: Brighton College, Bromley High School for Girls, Kilgraston School (also girls) in Perthshire, and Wellington College, Berkshire. 

The nomination for the RGS read: “Respected throughout the country, pupils at the Royal Grammar School sit the International GCSE for the opportunity to join one of the largest sixth forms in the independent sector. Spectacular achievements in sport and performing arts are backed up by solid progress in examinations since becoming fully co-educational in 2008”.

Not much to argue with there.

Ours was, I think, the penultimate award to be announced, so we were all fairly punch-drunk by the end. To my mild astonishment I found that the RGS emerged the winner, so I received the award from the lovely Cheryl and the boss of OKI who sponsored that particular trophy.

Then I reeled out of the subterranean hotel banqueting-suite and merged with the hordes of travellers packing on to the Tube before the strike started only a couple of hours later. By that stage London wasn’t looking lovely.

So what was it about? To be honest I’m not quite sure. The commercial side of education – like the entire business world – needs to promote itself, its communications, its networks and its trade. All the firms sponsoring the awards provide useful services of one sort or another to aspects of education: so it’s fair to expect that we schools who use their services to a greater or lesser degree play along.

Besides, for the RGS to win an Education Business Award is, at the very least, better than a slap in the face with a wet mackerel. And now I have a handsome glass trophy to keep in my office!

So that really is it for this school year. We’ve had a great year, huge numbers of achievements – those of our students far more important, of course, than any business award. But now we can slow down, have some holiday and a rest and recoup our strength. 

This blog will now fall silent until around the time of A level results on 13th August.

Have a good one!

Bernard Trafford
Headmaster