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Preston schools’ multi-academy trust wins prestigious national award

Posted on - 23rd June, 2021 - 1:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Education, Preston News, Proud Preston, Schools
Pic: Star Academies

A multi-academy trust responsible for two Preston schools has won a prestigious national award.

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Star Academies is responsible for 30 primary and secondary schools, including Preston’s The Olive School and Eden Boys’ School.

The trust has received the Pearson National Teaching Silver Award for supporting learners and the community during the pandemic.

It was honoured in the ‘Lockdown Hero Award for Learner and Community Support’ category, which aims to celebrate schools and individuals who have stepped up to support others despite the challenges presented by lockdown.

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(Mufti) Hamid Patel CBE, Chief Executive of Star Academies, said: “This award is a wonderful celebration of our dedicated staff who have worked tirelessly throughout lockdown and beyond.

“Many Star schools are located in areas of deprivation which have been seriously affected by the pandemic. Our teaching and support staff have worked with commitment to ensure that pupils remain safe and well and can continue to access an excellent education.”

Throughout the pandemic, staff and pupils at the schools have actively looked for opportunities to support people experiencing hardship in the Preston area. 

Across the trust, Star Family Hubs were established in 13 towns and cities nationwide, including Preston, to support vulnerable children and key workers’ children by providing on-site education during lockdown and by looking after their wellbeing and that of their families and the local community.

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Star used school kitchens to cook 100,000 hot meals for hungry neighbours and homeless people. Schools also provided 7,500 families with weekly food parcels and delivered 10,000 hygiene packs and 2,500 stationery items. Star staff and pupils manufactured 13,500 high-quality PPE items for key workers.

Star said they serve communities in areas that have been hit hard by Covid-19. With around 20 per cent of their pupils having lost members of their immediate or extended family during the pandemic, the team felt it was essential that they provided enhanced, personalised pastoral support.

At least once a week, all pupils received individual phone calls from their school, and for many, these were more frequent. Star also trained 135 mental health first aiders across schools to support pupils suffering from anxiety and depression. The wellbeing of pupils was further supported by the training of 100 pastoral staff in the field of bereavement support.

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The disruption of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns posed a risk to education, but Star pupils received live-streamed lessons daily in all subjects.

Around 5,000 devices (laptops and tablets) were loaned to pupils so that they could easily access their learning at home. Pupils and parents told schools that they were impressed by the quality of their remote learning.

Star Academies has been shortlisted to win one of only 15 Gold Awards later in the year. The Gold Award winners will be announced on a BBC programme, which will celebrate exceptional trusts, schools and staff who have worked for educators across the country. 

The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of excellence in education, founded in 1998 by Lord Puttnam to recognise the life-changing impact an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of young people.

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This year marks its 22nd year celebrating award-winning teachers, teaching assistants, headteachers, and lecturers across the UK. 

For more information about Star, visit www.staracademies.org

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Proud Preston. This, and many stories like it, show how the people of Preston are making a difference. Our Proud Preston section showcases all the charitable, kind, uplifting and great things about our city and the people who live here. #ProudPreston is alive and well, and there’s much to celebrate and be proud of, despite the challenging times we all face.

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Has your local school helped your community during the pandemic? Let us know in the comments below.

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