A County Durham primary school has been shortlisted as one of the 10 most innovative in the world.
Sedgefield Hardwick Primary Academy has been recognised by T4 Education’s World’s Best School Prizes as one of the top ten most innovative schools globally – the only school in the UK to be shortlisted in this category.
Headteacher Paul Taylor said: “As part of Laidlaw Schools Trust, innovation is at the heart of everything we do. An innovative approach to education nurtures a culture of curiosity, exploration, and problem-solving, equipping children with essential skills for their personal, academic, and professional growth.
“Our school was shortlisted as we have eradicated traditional, passive learning styles and ignited a wildfire of academic and character success among our pupils. Our unique approach progressively builds knowledge and skills in a logical, sequenced manner to create independent learners, and has resulted in consistency, high expectations, and innovative thinking.
“I am immensely proud to lead our fantastic team at Sedgefield Hardwick. Each day, I am reminded of the incredible potential within our pupils and the transformative impact our dedicated staff and supportive community have on their lives.”
The World’s Best School Prize for innovation was launched by T4 Education to celebrate schools that make a difference. Sedgefield Hardwick, rated by Ofsted as outstanding, was shortlisted in the top ten from thousands of global entries, and could be in line for a prize of $50,000.
Sally Newton, co-CEO of Laidlaw Schools Trust and former head of Sedgefield Hardwick, added: “Combining strong character education with the latest technology has transformed the approach to teaching and learning at Sedgefield Hardwick, putting pupils firmly at the forefront of transformational change.
“Winning this award would mean a huge amount, not least in providing a platform to influence schools worldwide in a much needed change to pedagogical approaches.”
T4 Education has four other categories of prizes: Community Collaboration, Environmental Action, Overcoming Adversity and Supporting Healthy Lives, with a further five UK schools among those shortlisted.
A judging academy comprising distinguished leaders across the globe including academics, educators, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, government and the private sector will choose a winner from the top ten schools in October. The five World’s Best School Prizes winners receive a share of the $250,000 award to expand and enhance their education projects.
To celebrate the announcement, Laidlaw Schools Trust hosted its first Innovation festival with 600 pupils from its academies in Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham. Pupils were set challenges in Innovation Stations to solve real life problems linked to Unicef’s Sustainable Development Goals. It also received messages of congratulations from the town’s former MP Sir Tony Blair, Lord Irvine Laidlaw and the Bishop of Durham.
For more information about the Laidlaw Schools Trust, visit https://www.laidlawschoolstrust.co.uk/