City schools victorious after clinching national government awards

Pupils from Northern Saints CE Primary School, TJay Jones, Lauren Hair and 
Ballie Taylor, celebrate the school's national award.

Pupils from Northern Saints CE Primary School, TJay Jones, Lauren Hair and Ballie Taylor, celebrate the school's national award.

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Sunderland is celebrating after city schools scooped two of the Government's four pupil premium awards.

Northern Saints CE Primary School and The Link School were announced the winners by Education and Childcare Minister Sam Gyimah, at a glittering ceremony in London.

There were 21 finalists in the four categories of the awards, which aim to celebrate the work being done by schools to help disadvantaged children, and the Sunderland schools took two first places.

Northern Saints was announced the joint winner of the primary school award and The Link School, which is based in Tudor Grove and provides education for challenging youngsters, won the award for special schools and alternative provision.

Steve Williamson, headteacher at Northern Saints, said they had an amazing time in London and everyone is thrilled.

He said: "We were delighted to receive the award proving that we go to extreme lengths to be innovative, creative and apply focus and determination when it comes to spending our pupil premium grant.

"The award shows that our disadvantaged pupils as well as their peers, make fantastic progress and attain a great deal. Our school has rightly been recognised as the best the country has to offer.

"Along with The Link School, which won the Alternative Provision category, it means that 2 out of the 5 national winners are from the city of Sunderland. That is simply astounding.

"We are ensuring that our children get the very best start in life and are delighted that we make such a difference.

"There is a real buzz about the school and we know that we are achieving what we have set out to do – to make every moment matter and to ensure that all children have the best chance of success in life."

Education and Childcare Minister Sam Gyimah said: "The winners of the 2016 Pupil Premium Awards have shown just what this funding can achieve for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, whether it is raising their confidence or developing key skills.

"The winning schools deserve to be singled out for particular praise, but all of the finalists have shown innovative and effective uses of the funding. I hope more schools will take inspiration from what they have achieved and follow in their footsteps."