TWO secondary schools from St Helens have been crowned winners at the Educate Awards last night, Friday, November 17.

Hope Academy won the Careers and Enterprise Award and Cowley International College took home the award for Outstanding Commitment to Sport in a Secondary School.

The Careers and Enterprise Award, sponsored by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Careers Hub, recognises schools, academies and colleges that are preparing young people the best they can for their future careers.

Judges look for excellent examples of career-related learning about the range of pathways and opportunities available students, as well as the focus on developing a spirit for enterprise amongst students, whether this be through partnerships, work experience opportunities or other methods.

At Hope Academy, there are a range of careers and enterprise programmes embedded in day-to-day life, which amazed the judges.

Career-related learning is emphasised throughout the school, and Hope’s compelling award entry highlighted strong links to the Gatsby benchmarks, demonstrating student engagement as well as great content from the academy.

Visits from guest speakers, workshops during the school year, collaborative work with local and national employers also allow students at Hope to embrace and think deeply about their future careers.

Cowley International College was awarded Outstanding Commitment to Sport in Secondary School, a category where judges examine how committed schools are to developing sporting skills and opportunities for students to be active and compete on a regular basis through the provisions of teaching, coaching, extracurricular activities, partnerships and more.

The judging panel was particularly impressed by Cowley’s entry, which presented the partnerships the school has with local sporting institutes/clubs and the facilities outside of school that students are able to benefit from because of this.

Cowley was also praised by the panel for its extensive curriculum, the variety of extra-curricular activities available, and sporting scholarship programme that is in place to enable students with the ability to pursue careers at an elite level.

Also recognised at the awards was Rainford High, which was named as runner-up for both the Outstanding Arts in a Secondary School category and Most Inspirational Secondary School award, with judges noting the school’s array of trips, charity involvement, and performing arts opportunities.

At this year’s Educate Awards, students from Rainford High were specially selected to open the big event and showcase their talents, taking to the stage to deliver a stellar performance of Beauty and the Beast’s ‘Be Our Guest’, wowing the audience of more than 700 people.

Now in its twelfth year, the Educate Awards showcases the hard work and creativity in the education sector, from STEM and performing arts to sports and literacy.

The awards also recognise the individuals who bring schools and colleges to life, from inspiring teachers and dedicated support staff to strategic leadership teams.

Kim O’Brien, founder of the Educate Awards, said: “Congratulations to Hope Academy and Cowley International College for winning at the Educate Awards! A huge thank you to Rainford High for opening the ceremony this year. “A big well done to the runners-up and finalists too. Results this year were incredibly close, and judges had a difficult time deciding not only the shortlist but also overall the winners.”

Kim added: “The Educate Awards team is proud to champion the innovation, diversity and dedication that is taking place in educational establishments around the region. Entries will open again in February 2024, and we encourage all types of schools and colleges to submit as many entries as they like, for free.”

The Educate Awards 2023 winners and runners-up: 1. The Communication Award Winner: Manchester Academy, Manchester Runner up: Maricourt Catholic High School, Sefton 2. Outstanding Commitment to the Environment Winner: Heswall Primary School, Wirral Runner up: Wright Robinson College, Manchester 3. Careers & Enterprise Award Winner: Hope Academy, St Helens Runner up: Ridgeway High School, Wirral 4. SEND Provision Award Winner: Abbot’s Lea School, Liverpool Joint runner up: Green Fold School, Bolton and Maple Grove School, Cheshire 5. Innovative & Creative Literacy Award Winner: Hillside High School, Sefton Runner up: Gateacre School, Liverpool 6. Outstanding Commitment to STEM Winner: Neston High School, Cheshire Runner up: Great Crosby Catholic Primary School, Sefton 7. Outstanding Arts in a Primary School Winner: Kew Woods Primary School, Sefton Runner up: Netherton Moss Primary School, Sefton 8. Outstanding Arts in a Secondary School Winner: The Hollins, Lancashire Runner up: Rainford High, St Helens 9. Community Partnership Award Winner: St Margaret Mary’s Catholic Junior School, Knowsley Runner up: Maricourt Catholic High School, Sefton 10. Mental Health & Wellbeing Award Winner: Abbot’s Lea School, Liverpool Runner up: St Elizabeth’s Catholic Primary School, Sefton 11. Outstanding Commitment to Sport in Primary School Winner: St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, Wallasey, Wirral Runner up: St Elizabeth’s Catholic Primary School, Sefton 12. Outstanding Commitment to Sport in Secondary School Winner: Cowley International College, St Helens Runner up: St Peter’s Catholic High School, Wigan 13. Leadership Team of the Year Winner: Green Fold School, Bolton Runner up: Cardinal Langley RC High School, Rochdale 14. Teacher of the Year Winner: Stephen Hill, St Joseph’s Primary School, Oldham Runner up: Catherine Chapman, Gateacre School, Liverpool 15. School Support Star of the Year Winner: Philip McGowan, Holy Rosary Catholic Primary School, Sefton Runner up: Jeanette Horrocks, Green Fold School, Bolton 16. Most Inspirational Alternative Provision Winner: Employability Solutions Ltd, Liverpool Runner up: Sandbach School, Cheshire 17. Most Inspirational Sixth Form & College Winner: Birkenhead Sixth Form College, Wirral Runner up: St John Bosco Arts College, Liverpool 18. Most Inspirational Secondary School Winner: Gateacre School, Liverpool Runner up: Rainford High, St Helens 19. Most Inspirational Primary School Winner: Whitefield Primary School, Liverpool Runner up: St Peter’s CE Primary School, Bolton 20. WOW Recognition Award Winner: Beech Hall School, Cheshire Runner up: Wade Deacon High School, Cheshire