2023 £10,000 Major Award Winners


Once again, we had a good selection of bids this year, with PE and STEM applications proving popular but the new Learning to Learn category just pipping them to the post for most applications.

As we do every year, we reviewed our judging process beginning with a mark scheme (based on our standard criteria) which then informs our final discussions.  We don’t publish the actual mark scheme to avoid bids being written “to the scheme” rather than giving a realistic assessment of the project and its benefits.  However, there continues to be a strong emphasis on applicants explaining and evidencing the expected benefits of their projects which we add to our own judgements on how each project will enhance learning and motivation.

We also thought we would help future applicants with our top hints from this year’s bids:


Top 3 Feedback Points from the 2023 Major Award Applications

 (“Project” refers to whatever products, training, workshops etc you are applying for)

  1. We make a judgement ourselves on the learning benefits of projects but we are not experts in all subjects so it is up to the applicant to explain how the project will bestow the learning benefits.
  2. Credit will be given if applicants address how their project will meet specified pupil needs and say how they have identified these needs.
  3. Extra credit is given if the applicant evidences any stated benefits – this might be from e.g. research findings or school experience of similar/related initiatives. Any research, including provider/supplier claims, should be explained and applied to the particular needs of the applicant’s school and not just pasted into the application.


And now, on to the winners…


Stem Major Award Winner 2023:  ST. MARY’S CATHOLIC SCHOOL (Bishops Stortford)

Greenpower F24 Electric Car chassis and a wide range of associated tools/machinery

 This application had many strengths with one of the strongest being the “awe and wonder” of designing and constructing their own electric vehicle and building on current engineering competitions to raise the subject’s profile and popularity even further.  On top of this was the huge range of STEAM skills that the project will develop including graphics, design, engineering, performance testing and data analysis.

Issues of longevity (what happens when the car has been built?) and numbers benefitting (how many pupils can actually be involved with the construction etc?) were addressed well by the application as the long-term usefulness of the high-quality, precision equipment beyond the car construction was explained as well as the cross-curricular opportunities of the project.



Learning To Learn Major Award Winner 2023:  WATFORD GRAMMAR SCHOOL FOR GIRLS

Two Years’ CPD provided by Thinking Matters plus 15x Visualisers

Thinking Matters are one of a number of learning to learn providers that schools have been integrating into their minor and major award applications to us.  A particular strength of Thinking Matters’ core program from our point of view is the embedded nature of their core program involving setting up a Drive Team to lead the integration of their learning strategies across the whole school over an extended period of time and spaced-out training days for staff with time to apply the methods learned in between.

One of the many strengths of this application was extensive research on the effectiveness of some techniques already being trialled in school to identify areas of weakness and argue for the likely success of this program.  The enthusiasm and commitment of staff and the existence of a learning team also helped us make our choice. 

Our new L2L criteria (changed from Effective Learning in January 2023) does not allow equipment to facilitate more effective learning to be a major part of applications (Major or Minor Awards).  However, it was well argued that the fifteen visualisers (under 25% of the bid) were an integral part of delivering the learning skills to pupils and so they enhanced the application.


PE Major Award Winner 2023:  PRESDALES SCHOOL

A range of strength and conditioning equipment for their fitness suite

 We often have a number of bids for fitness suite equipment and some major influences on our choice of winner are how well the school has identified the need for the equipment by different pupil groups and how well they have researched, argued for and evidenced the specific benefits the items will bestow.   Presdales’ bids are always well constructed and this one covered these points very well as well as explaining the wider benefits of enhancing their fitness suite such as motivating reluctant PE learners and generating income from lettings.

Another of the strengths of this project was the plan to train sixth-formers in the safe and effective use of the equipment and then utilise them as leaders in the suite, thus building their leadership and coaching skills.