These accolades were awarded at the Independent Schools of Year Awards, where Shrewsbury School was recognised for the positive impact and contributions its pupils and staff have made by working with and supporting communities over the past year, and was awarded the top award as the overall Independent School of the Year for 2020.
Julie Robinson, CEO of ISC presented the Independent School of the Year Award at the virtual event to Shrewsbury saying Shrewsbury School won the overall award selected from all winners for:
“…outstanding contribution to student experience in their own school and beyond, working tirelessly and positively, changing the lives of their own students, and the lives of people in the much wider community.”
Leo Winkley, Headmaster, comments:
“It is a great honour to be named Independent School of the Year 2020. This recognises the breadth and vitality of the student experience at Shrewsbury. We are particularly pleased also to have received the award for Community Outreach. There are over 1300 independent schools up and down the land, and I know just how much excellent work is done by the independent sector to extend opportunities through community outreach and educational partnerships.
“Community outreach has always been part of our essence and particularly during current times we have worked to share and collaborate with our local community. Our relationship with The Shewsy, our youth club in Everton, is stronger than ever in its 118th year. Benefiting the local community is a vital goal in itself, but we also want our pupils to leave school with a deep sense of social responsibility to make change happen.”
Robin Fletcher, CEO of the Boarding Schools’ Association, presented the Community Outreach Award stating:
“Shrewsbury impressed the judges with the sheer breadth and scope of their community outreach especially during the national lockdown.”
The footage below shows Leo Winkley, Headmaster, accepting the Community Outreach Award 2020.
Shrewsbury School actively works with schools and other education settings, health and social care organisations, community groups and charities, locally in Shrewsbury, across Shropshire and throughout the UK. Our culture of kindness, which has a long history at the school, enables pupils to develop an experienced understanding of social responsibility leading to lives that positively impacts others.
All pupils at Shrewsbury School are involved in volunteering and community support during their educational journey. An example of this is the unique relationship between Shrewsbury School and the youth club Shrewsbury House (‘The Shewsy’) in West Everton dating back to 1903, when it was formed by Shrewsbury School Masters. Regular, joint activities have been held in the past year (prior to COVID restrictions); sixty Year 12 students took part in a three day residential programme at the club, forty five Year 9 pupils took part in an Introductory Day at the club, approximately twenty Year 10 and 11 pupils played sporting fixtures, home and away, against the club, and approximately twenty Year 13 prefects organise a Fun Day for the Junior Club.
Shrewsbury School pupils and The Shewsy children work exceptionally well together to help others as well; coming together in Malawi, Africa, they have previously undertaken community service with a charity called ‘Medic Malawi’, which runs a hospital, children’s centre and school in a village in Malawi, which is one of the seven poorest countries in the world.
We go further by empowering pupils to also lead their own initiatives to broaden opportunities to support additional communities or charities. Our award-winning Global Social Leaders student group have organised a homework club for refugee children, hosted tea parties for local elderly residents, delivered a major food bank Christmas fair, and visited the local frailty ward at Christmas. Art students have also hosted a ‘The Big Draw’ event for primary schools, and Musicians have hosted ‘Symphonic Sundays’ attended by over fifty 7-13 year olds from local schools.
Over the last year pupils, and staff, have supported Shropshire hospitals and care homes, the local food bank, conservation projects, local schools with reading and sport, as well as, raising money in groups or through whole school activities for several local, national and international charities.
During the national lockdown period this year, the School adapted to support urgent local needs. We donated and manufactured thousands of items of PPE for frontline workers, encouraged and promoted fundraising and charitable action from our own community across the country and abroad, made donations to food banks and adapted our community volunteering programme to work virtually by streaming musical performances into care homes and writing letters to the elderly to mitigate increased social isolation.
Our community and partnership work continues to evolve as we expand our strategy of ‘Sharing Shrewsbury’. A successful joint bid with the Marches Multi-Academy Trust for DFE Partnership will enable us to further develop and enhance our joint work in Mathematics and Careers with local schools. We have also recently launched a STEM partnership with Imperial College London to support local year 10 pupils by raising aspirations in the sciences and Maths.
The above wealth of meaningful community engagement exemplifies Shrewsbury’s ‘Culture of Kindness’ nurtured in all pupils and staff at the school – it endures in the hearts of all Salopians (our alumni) for life.