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Welsh school shortlisted for global education prize

15 Jun 2023 4 minute read
Cadoxton Primary School in Barry. Photo via Google

A primary school in Wales which set up a pay-what-you-can food shop, launderette and uniform shop to support struggling families is in the running for a global education prize.

Cadoxton Primary School in Barry is one of six schools in the UK which are on the top 10 shortlists for the T4 Education World’s Best School prizes – more than any other country in the world.

The state school has been shortlisted among the world’s best for overcoming adversity, alongside a primary school in West Yorkshire.

Feversham Primary Academy, located in a deprived area of Bradford, is in the running for the prize after it went from being a failing school in 2011 to a success story following a refocus on the arts and music.

The winners of the five World’s Best prizes – for community collaboration, environmental action, innovation, overcoming adversity, and supporting healthy lives – will each receive 50,000 US dollars (£40,000).

Last year, Dunoon Grammar School, a state secondary school in Scotland, was crowned winner of the global prize for community collaboration.


Janet Hayward, executive headteacher of Cadoxton Primary School, said: “Overcoming adversity is something that’s really important for us in the school so it’s fantastic to be recognised for it.”

Children and parents run the “pay as you feel” food shop, first launched in June 2020, in a shipping container outside the school community centre.

The school has been able to assist over 60 other schools across Wales in setting up their own Big Bocs Bwyd (Big Food Box) shops to help families.

Ms Hayward has noticed a rise in demand for the services amid the cost-of-living crisis. She said: “Many families say that it is an absolute lifeline for them. They don’t know how they’d survive without it.”

At Feversham Primary Academy, where around 90% of pupils speak English as an additional language, every child is able to access a musical instrument and tuition throughout their time at school.

Jimmy Rotheram, the music director at Feversham, said the investment in the arts helped to boost the school’s English and maths results.

He told PA: “Music plays a really powerful part in the development of language and singing in particular.

“A lot of our children come in speaking very little English so we have to do a lot of extra work in teaching them to speak and write English. Music is incredibly good for this because it slows the language down and makes it more accessible to people.”

Mr Rotheram added: “To take the music and arts away would be an own goal. I think schools are scoring an own goal when they are not providing music.”

Both Barham Primary School, a state school in north London, and ACS International School Cobham, an independent school in Surrey, are in the running for the community collaboration prize this year.

Cardiff Sixth Form College

Sedgefield Hardwick Primary Academy, in County Durham, has been shortlisted for the innovation prize, while Cardiff Sixth Form College has been shortlisted for the supporting healthy lives prize.

Vikas Pota, founder of T4 Education, said: “The schools shortlisted for the World’s Best School Prizes, no matter where they can be found or what they teach, all have one thing in common.

“They all have a strong school culture. Their leaders know how to attract and motivate exceptional educators, inspire change, and build excellent teaching and learning environments.”

He added: “Schools across the globe will learn from the story of these trail-blazing UK institutions and the culture they have cultivated.”

The top three finalists for each of the five prizes will be announced in September followed by the winners in October.

A prize of 250,000 US dollars (£200,000) will be shared equally among the winners of the five categories.

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11 months ago

You can hear more about Janet Hayward’s philosophy in her Tummler School masterclass with south Wales based social enterprise Grow Social Capital

A Tummler is a Yiddish word for someone who gets a party started. Grow Social Capital thinks it is a terrific metaphor for changemakers in the community.

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