Region’s independent schools honoured with national awards

SCHOOLS across Yorkshire have celebrated success at a national awards ceremony for the independent sector.

More than a third of the categories at the Independent Schools Award were won by entrants from the region, with Hill House School in Doncaster winning the overall top prize.

Five years ago the school was operating from two sites in “tired and cramped” buildings either side of the Doncaster town centre.

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It took the decision to move to a derelict RAF officers’ base which it bought and renovated for £8m. It now has 40 classrooms and sports facilities and last year opened a new sixth form centre and music school.

Before it moved it had 371 pupils now it has risen to 571.

It won an award for outstanding strategic initiative and was then picked as the overall school of the year – ahead of all the other award category winners.

Principal David Holland said: “I knew we had a good story to tell here so I was hopeful that we might be recognised for the strategic initiative but to be named overall school of the year against so many top schools was a nice surprise.”

The school was also runner up in the governors of the year category which was won by the Grammar School at Leeds.

Judges praised the school’s governing body for the way in which the school was formed through the merger of Leeds Grammar School and Leeds Girls’ High School and the earlier move of the grammar school to Alwoodley Gates.

The school’s chairman of governors, David Gravells, said: “I am delighted that the board of governors has received this award which recognises their dedication and foresight in making the key decisions that created today’s thriving school. Each governor has a wealth of experience and expertise which allows us to focus on all areas of the school and move ahead with new initiatives.”

Harrogate Ladies’ College won the education initiative of the year for the work of its business school allowing its pupils to study subjects such as economics, accounting, business studies and psychology in a “modern, business-like environment”.

Principal Rhiannon Wilkinson said: “We are delighted and proud of this independent, national recognition for our thriving and successful business school. It is a great endorsement which demonstrates the hard work, effort and determination to provide our pupils with an insight in to the 21st century commercial world.”

The college was not the only all girls’ school from Yorkshire celebrating success.

Sheffield High won the community initiative of the year for a series of events to celebrate the Olympics and Paralympics, focusing on the seven values of excellence: respect, friendship, determination, courage, inspiration, tolerance and equality.