St John Bosco Arts College in Liverpool is celebrating after being shortlisted for the prestigious TES Schools Awards 2017.
The all-girls Catholic secondary school in Croxteth is in contention for the English teacher or team of the year award, which rewards schools that find innovative means to teach literacy and English. St John Bosco's English team, which aims to engage students in creative ways, impressed the judging panel.
According to St John Bosco head teacher Darren Gidman, the English department "works tirelessly to unlock the potential" and improve the life chances of students, giving them the building blocks to access the rest of the curriculum and become literate and independent learners.
During a recent visit, Ofsted noted: "The progress made by pupils in English is exceptional due to insightful leadership and excellent teaching. Teachers plan lessons that challenge pupils to excel in their learning." Certainly 2015–16 was a breakthrough year, culminating in the department's best results in more than a decade, with 85.2% of students achieving A*–C grades at GCSE.
Reading buddies, book weeks and Harry Potter nights are just some of the initiatives used to raise literacy skills and promote reading for pleasure. "As a school we try to instil a love of reading and writing from a young age," adds Darren Gidman.
The TES Schools Awards celebrate the extraordinary commitment, quality and innovation of teachers and support staff across the UK. The winners will be announced at an awards evening in London on Friday 23 June.