Last week (27 November), some of the education sector enjoyed a welcome break from the trials and tribulations of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, taking a step back to celebrate some of this year’s most impactful achievements in edtech.
The Lockdown Learning Awards, hosted by edtech provider Renaissance Learning, celebrated schools and individual staff members for their ingenuity, creativity and resilience in the face of COVID-spurred adversity.
Winners took home trophies alongside a range of book vouchers for their institution, provided by Laburnum House, who sponsored the event. Lockdown has presented a range of unique challenges for schools, teachers and students alike; from delivering supplies and education to the children of key workers to meeting the changing demands of remote teaching and learning. Schools were forced to rapidly adapt to the situation, prompting Renaissance’s decision to acknowledge these achievements via a recognised industry event.
The Renaissance Awards have revered best practice and outstanding achievements in edtech for the last four years, with the number of awards and entrants growing annually. This year, however, given the ongoing complications and disruption caused by the pandemic, the event was rebranded and renamed as the ‘Lockdown Learning Awards’.
Winners included Bo’ness Academy in Falkirk, who won ‘The Pot of Gold Award’ for their work in establishing Book Treasure Trails around the community during lockdown, in which children were left rhyming clues in a scavenger hunt-type trail to find hidden books.
Grimsby’s Oasis Academy took home the ‘Keep Thriving Award’, granted for their innovative use of edtech during lockdown to minimise the disruption caused by the pandemic and keep students engaged. The schools motto, ‘positivity through adversity’, was clearly reflected in the poems, videos and art produced by the pupils and teachers throughout this difficult time.
The ‘Going the Extra Mile’ award went to St Mark’s Academy in Mitcham, where staff spent days driving the school’s minibus around to ensure the most vulnerable children had some level of contact to maintain their wellbeing and minimise the negative impact on mental health.
Other winners included:
- The Social Butterfly Award (Secondary School) – Beckfoot LRC Team
- The Pot of Gold Award+A7:J8 – Jacqui McIntyre, Sam Phillips and the whole Renaissance Accelerated Reader Team
- The Child’s Best Friend Award – Marine Academy Primary
- The Keep Thriving Award – Oasis Academy Wintringham
- Save the Minibeast Award – Pirton Hill Primary School
- The Social Butterfly Award (Primary Word) – Dawn Molloy, KS2 HLTA and AR/LEAD librarian
- The Umbrella Award – Mrs Carmel Perry
- Going the Extra Mile Award – St Mark’s Academy
- The Wrapped Up in Reading Award – Tor Bridge Primary School Staff Team
- The Far Reaching Award – Invicta Academy
Lauren Shapiro, former teacher and now senior special projects team manager at Renaissance, supported this year’s judging process. She said: “We were overwhelmed by the inspiring work being done across the country by schools and teachers after what has been a really difficult year for all. This year’s awards were all about recognising the fantastic work being done by school staff to deliver education and accelerate learning for all. This year’s awards were all about recognising the fantastic work being done by school staff to deliver education and accelerate learning for all children. The creativity, commitment and resilience we have seen from schools and teachers is impressive and we are thrilled to be able to celebrate this at the virtual awards event this year.”