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TES Prep School of the Year

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Prestigious award recognises Kent prep school’s “year of wonder”

Saint Ronan’s School in Hawkhurst, Kent has won the prep school of the year award at the Tes Independent School Awards, one of the biggest nights in the UK education calendar which was held on Friday 30th April.

The Tes Independent School Awards celebrate the teachers and teams from independent schools across the UK that are raising the standards of education and making a positive impact on the personal and academic success of students and the wider community. This year’s awards have highlighted the extraordinary work that schools have done in spite of a most challenging year.

Saint Ronan’s School has transformed a tumultuous 12 months into a “year of wonder”. As well as finishing the year with excellent scholarship and common entrance exam results, the school also opened a new art, DT and computing centre to inspire pupils’ creativity.

Saint Ronan’s used Microsoft Teams to establish a programme of imaginative online lessons during the pandemic, as well as providing a series of “how to” packs for parents. To give pupils a sense of continuity, weekly assemblies, daily registrations and pastoral one-to-ones were preserved. During a challenging time, staff were asked to contribute something extra, from origami skills, to a “Cakey Bakey” to PHEW meditations. The school organised daily photography competitions, riddles and stories, and a virtual paper airplane tournament to keep students’ spirits up. From online concerts to “cringeworthy” staff videos, the school made sure its cohort felt engaged, safe and nurtured.

Lead judge Michael Abraham said St Ronan’s “year of wonder” showed “a wonderful care of the development of the individual”, and he particularly enjoyed reading of the “outstanding scholarship results, the St Ronan’s TV and radio, the PHEW mindfulness programme, new arrivals at the farm and the many examples of staff ‘sprinkling fairy dust’ on areas of school life”.

William Trelawny-Vernon Headmaster of Saint Ronan’s School said:

“We are absolutely thrilled, in fact quite overwhelmed with this award! I want to say a big thank you to all my team who have done such a fantastic job, particularly during this year.”

Jon Severs, Editor of Tes magazine and Chief Judge of the Awards said:

“The Tes Independent School Awards is a celebration of the fantastic achievements of the independent sector. These winning and shortlisted schools have shown ingenuity, ambition and perseverance during what has been an unbelievably challenging year.”

The Tes Independent School Awards were held virtually for the first time to comply with the ongoing coronavirus restrictions. In previous years the awards ceremony has been held at the Grosvenor Hotel, on London’s Park Lane.

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