Jo Richard Community School handed Pearson Teaching Award

Staff and students celebrating Jo Richardson Community School being awarded Silver in the School of

Staff and students celebrating Jo Richardson Community School being awarded Silver in the School of the Year Pearson Teaching Awards. - Credit: Archant

A Dagenham school is off to a glittering ceremony after winning a national teaching award.

Staff and students celebrating Jo Richardson Community School being awarded Silver in the School of

Staff and students celebrating Jo Richardson Community School being awarded Silver in the School of the Year Pearson Teaching Awards. - Credit: Archant

Jo Richardson Community School bagged a Pearson Teaching Awards’ Silver prize in the School of the Year ‘Making a difference’ category.

Selected from thousands of applicants, the co-ed secondary in Gale Street was one of 65 winners celebrated on Friday, ‘Thank A Teacher Day’, for the awards’ 20th anniversary.

Jo Richardson and fellow Silver award winners, along with winners in Scotland and Wales, will vye for 12 Gold Plato Awards in a ceremony held in central London this October.

Announcing the prize in a room packed with pupils, staff, governors and Cllr Evelyn Carpenter, Barking and Dagenham Council’s cabinet member for educational attainment and school improvement, headteacher Ges Smith said: “If we became a Gold award winner, that would be an absolute testimony to not just to everybody who works here at the moment and not just to all the students, but going back over 16 years since we founded the school in 2002; because these things don’t happen overnight.”


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Handing over the award, Cllr Carpenter called the school “very close to my heart”.

Jo Richardson, she added, “showed me what education in Barking and Dagenham ought to be like.

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“In my view this is a well-deserved accolade: you’ve all worked so hard, you’re a massively inclusive school.”

While staff joked about the correct way to shine the metallic gong, 18-year-old Abigail Hall told the Post how her letter had set the process in motion.

Abigail, a Year 13 pupil who has an unconditional offer to study history at the University of Birmingham, said she was inspired to put the school forward for the award months ago.

“There’s just so many tremendous teachers, staff and support staff here,” she said.

She described writing an exhaustive online nomination, listing all the school’s positive traits, which headteacher Ges described as “like a thesis”.

For her effort, two inspectors arrived for a tour of the school — which proved a mixed blessing.

“I had a three-hour RE exam on the morning they were here,” she laughed.

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