Major Award Winner 2024: Pinewood School Academy Trust

Major Award Winner 2024:  Pinewood School Academy Trust

A range of strength and conditioning equipment for their fitness suite


There was just one Major Award available this year so applications were judged against projects in other categories (PE, STEM and Learning to Learn) as well as in their own focus area.

Pinewood are a MLD (Moderate Learning Difficulties) school.  We often have a number of bids for fitness suite equipment in the PE category but what made Pinewood’s application really stand out was the effect of setting up a well-equipped gym would have on their particular students.  As well as arguments for meeting curriculum demands and physical health, Pinewood also stressed how their pupils, all of whom have special educational needs and/or physical disabilities, need a safe environment to build their independence and confidence.  The gym would help them develop these attributes which would be transferable to other aspects of their life during and post education.  Many of their pupils can regularly feel frustrated and overwhelmed and they have found that physical activity often alleviates these feelings.  Therefore, access to a familiar gym where pupils have developed specific routines would be an invaluable resource for both physical and mental wellbeing.


As usual, our judging process begins with a mark scheme (based on our standard criteria).  This then informs our final discussions which also take into account the schools’ circumstances, needs and how much of a difference the project would make to their particular pupils.  As always, it is up to each school to make us aware of all these factors.

We don’t publish the initial mark scheme to avoid bids being written “to the scheme” rather than giving a realistic assessment of the project and its benefits.  However, as well as the explanation of our assessment criteria on the website, we have again decided to give our top 3 success hints based on this year’s applications in all three categories (which are much the same as last year). 


Top 3 Feedback Points from the 2024 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 to their particular body of students.
  2. Credit will be given if applicants address how their project will also meet the needs of specified groups of pupils 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 from a supplier/provider website.


Commiserations to all the unsuccessful applicants – we appreciate how important your projects are to your school and thank you for the time and effort you put into your applications.  Our secondary Major Awards for 2025 will open for submissions during the spring term of next year.