Categories and nominations

Category guide

The Star Awards are open to Diverse Academies staff only. Nominations should be made using the online form, where the nominator is required to answer four questions, which are framed around the content in the guide below. Each answer should be no longer than 125 words, with a total of 500 words per award nomination. Any member of staff can submit an entry, however nominations can only be received for staff who are below Principal level.

Our judges will be looking for outstanding examples of best practice from the 2018/19 academic year. References to activities which have taken place prior to this can be included, but the substantive impact must have taken place within 2018/19. The only exception to this rule is for the lifetime achievement and long service award.

Colleague of the year (teacher)

This award is about celebrating teaching excellence in any phase or setting of education. The teacher of the year will stand out from the crowd, be inspirational and engaging, helping to ensure students achieve their full academic and social potential. The judges will want to see how the teacher creates a climate for learning that is characterised by enthusiasm, high expectations and outstanding results.* This teacher will draw on a wide range of approaches to motivate students, actively monitoring the experience and progress of each, and adjusting his or her approach to take account of individual needs. This person will listen to and make students feel valued. They will engage others in supporting students’ learning and development, including colleagues, parents and other professionals. He or she will also contribute beyond the classroom to the wider life of the academy and show a continuing commitment to their own professional learning and personal development.

Colleague of the year (new teacher)

This award is about celebrating the success and potential of those in their early stages of their teaching career, and is open to all in their first, second or third year of teaching. The new teacher of the year will be inspirational and engaging, helping to ensure students achieve their full academic and social potential. The judges will want to see how the teacher creates a climate for learning that is characterised by enthusiasm, high expectations and outstanding results.* This teacher will draw on a wide range of approaches to motivate students, actively monitoring the experience and progress of each, and adjusting his or her approach to take account of individual needs. This person will listen to and make students feel valued. They will engage others in supporting students’ learning and development, including colleagues, parents and other professionals. He or she will also contribute beyond the classroom to the wider life of the academy and show a continuing commitment to their own professional learning and personal development.

Colleague of the year (operations)

This award is about celebrating the individual achievements of a staff member who works within an operational role – whether in an academy, across a cluster or centrally – and who has gone the extra mile to deliver a high quality service and professional expertise to staff and/or students. The nomination should outline how the individual supports their operational area by actively engaging and collaborating with others. He or she will take an innovative approach to finding solutions to challenges, take opportunities to enhance service/professional standards and seek out best practice where ever it is. This individual will also show a continuing commitment to their own professional learning and personal development, as well as a positive contribution to the whole staff team.

Colleague of the year (teaching and learning support)

Learning support staff, such as teaching assistants, learning mentors or technicians, play a vital role in today’s classrooms – ensuring students get the most out of their lessons. This award celebrates the individual achievements of these staff members. The nomination should outline how their work underpins the learning environment, by actively engaging and collaborating with others in support of students’ learning and development, including teachers, parents and other professionals. This person will aid students in pursuit of clear goals, even when the challenge is great or the outcome seems uncertain. He or she will show a continuing commitment to their own professional learning and personal development, as well as a positive contribution to the whole staff team.

Partnership and engagement

This award is for an individual or a team that can demonstrate a unique and imaginative initiative, which has shown tangible results from working in partnership, whether formally or informally. The award will recognise and celebrate staff who have made an outstanding contribution to their academy/functional area, community and stakeholders, through collaboration and engagement with others. The nominee will extol our core values of diversity, and sharing and co-developing best practice for the benefit of all. The judges will be looking to see evidence of successful collaboration with other academies or functions across the trust, with local businesses, universities or colleges, or with parents and local people – projects that demonstrate creativity, energy and a business-like approach to delivering great results.

Social mobility and inclusion

This award celebrates initiatives that are aimed at tackling social mobility and inclusion, whether driven by an individual or team, in any phase or setting. Nominations should evidence how activities and interventions raise young people’s aspirations and help them to develop skills for life – ensuring students better understand their future education and employment opportunities and are prepared for their next steps as a result. The judges will assess how new or innovative methods have been developed to support students in their learning or engage them with their local community or with businesses. Impact may be demonstrated by improvements in attendance levels, parental engagement or student success for example. In essence, this award seeks out those who have gone beyond the traditional methods of measurements and celebrates their success and innovation.

Team of the year

This award will celebrate the collective and lasting impact of a team from any area within our trust – whether teaching, learning support or an operational function. The judges are looking for a team which has gone the extra mile and which has exceeded expectations. The judges will want to see evidence of how the team works together to achieve its goals. The nomination must detail the role of the team, and outline what they set out to achieve, how they achieved their vision and goals, and the impact of the team. The judges will consider how the team improves standards, the added value they bring, how they overcame any challenges, and how the team works with others to the benefit of academy communities and stakeholders more widely.

Innovative use of technology

This award recognises excellence in the use of technology by an individual, a team or through a whole-academy initiative. The judges will be looking for evidence that the technology has had a positive impact on educational or operational outcomes, and will expect to see how a clear vision for its novel use has resulted in demonstrable benefits. The nomination must detail how the technology was identified and introduced, how the vision was communicated to stakeholders to ensure adoption, and how its introduction has created a climate characterised by enthusiasm for learning and high expectations OR has raised professional standards and eased ways of organisational working.

Leadership and management

This award will recognise and celebrate the achievements of an outstanding leader, who can draw on a range of leadership styles and behaviours to manage people and situations over the short, medium and long term. The judges will be looking for evidence of a positive attitude that has inspired others – an individual who presents a clear and compelling vision for success which is understood by their whole team. He or she will be able to engage and secure the commitment of key stakeholders, such as staff, governors, parents, students or suppliers. They are able to ensure the appropriate resources are available to develop the capacity of their function or academy to deliver its vision. This leader will create an environment characterised by a culture of high expectations and enthusiasm, and a commitment to achieving outstanding results.

Governance

Our governors and trustees are highly valued members of the Diverse Academies, who give up their time to make a difference to the lives of the children and young people of our communities. As volunteers, their work comes with no financial gain. This award seeks to recognise and celebrate the contribution of an individual governor/trustee or governance team whose commitment, skill and teamwork has exceeded expectations to provide an exceptional, high quality governance service. The nomination should detail how – through work within a portfolio of responsibility, on a local academy board or at a trust board level – an individual or team has provided a professional oversight of an academy’s or group’s financial performance to ensure money is well spent, effectively held leadership to account for the educational performance of an academy or academies and its students, and has ensured the overall clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction.

Lifetime achievement and long service

In a change from previous years, this award category will no longer be peer nominated. Colleagues reaching the milestones of 30 and 40 years of service will receive an automatic invitation to the celebration event, where their long service will be recognised as part of the award ceremony.

*Nominations can include predicted outcomes for early years to post 16 in 2019. The judges will not make a decision until the final results are known.

Diverse Academies Learning Partnership