School which set up wartime trench in grounds wins top honour for creative learning

Seaham School of Technology manning their replica First World War Trench system in the school grounds in December.
Seaham School of Technology manning their replica First World War Trench system in the school grounds in December.
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Projects which help spark the imaginations of learners by transforming their surroundings have helped a school scoop a national award.

Seaham School of Technology collected the Creative School of the Year title at the TES Schools Awards at a glittering ceremony in London.

Seaham School of Technology manning their replica First World War Trench system in the school grounds.

Seaham School of Technology manning their replica First World War Trench system in the school grounds.

The victory comes after teachers set up a wartime trench in its grounds and put together a host of themes for a room which helps set the scene for pieces of writing.

In December, the trench was chosen as a location to recreate the moment British and German First World War soldiers played football during a Christmas 1914 truce, with pupils and German exchange students taking part in the event as the Football Remembers programme event.

It has also been the setting for a host of history lessons, giving children an idea of the scale and conditions in the trenches the Army would have lived and fought in, with the area created from a previously derelict piece of land in between buildings.

Room X, a former staff room, has been turned into a desert island, a CSI-style crime scene, given a Jack the Ripper-inspired look and become an art gallery, with a music system adding to the atmosphere with sounds.

Award judges

Seaham School of Technology’s entry was remarkable for being so deep and comprehensive.

The award, which was presented at the Grosvenor Hotel and hosted by comedian and actor Greg Davies, was awarded to the school in recognition of the “creativity is embedded in every aspect of teaching and learning and has provided the impetus for significant improvement.”

The judges praised the school’s work to “engage minds and broaden horizons” on its journey out of special measures, with unused areas of the school refurbished to provide stimulating environments for learning

The award also comes after the school’s GCSE results improved yet again, with 80 per cent of pupils gaining A* to C in English language and 100 per cent reaching A* to C in art.

The judges said: “Seaham School of Technology’s entry was remarkable for being so deep and comprehensive.

Seaham School of Technology teachers celebrate their win at the TES awards, with host Greg Davies, left.

Seaham School of Technology teachers celebrate their win at the TES awards, with host Greg Davies, left.

“Far from adopting well-worn recipes for complying with Ofsted criteria to achieve its current status of good, it has been enthusiastically innovative.

“Seaham is indeed a role model for all other schools.”

Ann Mroz, editor of TES, added: “Seaham School of Technology is impressive not just for the results but for the richness of school life, underpinned by its creative initiatives engaging students of all abilities and present in every element of the curriculum.”

Seaham was also shortlisted for the arts and humanities title.

Climbing out of the trenches to meet in no-mans land, at the World War One Christmas Truce re-enactment at Seaham School of Technolgy in December.

Climbing out of the trenches to meet in no-mans land, at the World War One Christmas Truce re-enactment at Seaham School of Technolgy in December.

Headteacher David Shield said: “Here at Seaham we are very proud of this achievement and it recognises the hard work of our staff, who go the extra mile to make lessons exciting and fun.”

Climbing out of the trenches to meet in no-mans land, at the World War One Christmas Truce re-enactment at Seaham School of Technolgy in December.

Climbing out of the trenches to meet in no-mans land, at the World War One Christmas Truce re-enactment at Seaham School of Technolgy in December.

Seaham School of Technology pupils Lauren Sloan, Katie Kershaw, Ethan Wright, and Morggan Gaydon, with the school's creative team Ian Hardy, Andrew Rousell, and Emma Ferguson, in Room X during its incarnation as a desert island.

Seaham School of Technology pupils Lauren Sloan, Katie Kershaw, Ethan Wright, and Morggan Gaydon, with the school's creative team Ian Hardy, Andrew Rousell, and Emma Ferguson, in Room X during its incarnation as a desert island.