Ormiston Venture Academy principal wins prestigious ‘Headteacher of the Year in a Secondary School’ Award

  30 September, 2020

Selected from thousands of nominations, Simon Gilbert-Barnham, Principal at Ormiston Venture Academy, has won a prestigious Silver Pearson’s Teaching Award. The award recognises him as an inspirational teacher, one who has shown outstanding commitment to changing the lives of the children he works with. Simon is one of just 76 Silver Award winners this year and is amongst just four winners in the Headteacher of the Year in a Secondary School category.

Since becoming Principal of Ormiston Venture Academy in 2013, Simon has played a major part in transforming the school, to the point where the now ‘Outstanding’ academy has been oversubscribed for the past four years. Through focusing on high-quality teaching and making sure every aspect of school life is given the attention and support it needs, he ensures the academy is the best it can be for students, staff, and the wider community.

He has created an environment where students take an active role in the development of the academy, with the Union of Venture Students being given its own budget to improve the learning experience for students. From peer tutoring programmes to community outreach work, students become leaders in their own right. By empowering his students, Simon equips them with the confidence they need to pursue their dreams. 

Driven by a desire to ensure social justice for his students, Simon works tirelessly in the community to build a school that levels the playing field for many, where achievement is high, pastoral care is exemplary and a love of lifelong learning is fostered. His success is shared by the strong team he has assembled around him, as well as by the parents and students both past and present who have helped to make Ormiston Venture Academy what it is today. 

Following this accomplishment, Simon is now in the running for one of just 14 Gold Awards later in the year, in a programme which will be broadcast on the BBC. The event will be a great opportunity to celebrate the exceptional school staff who have worked wonders during an incredibly challenging time for educators across the country.

Simon Gilbert-Barnham, Executive Principal of Ormiston Venture Academy said:

“I am exceptionally proud to receive this award which is recognition of the commitment that our entire community has to ensuring an education that is not only caring and exciting but is of the highest quality. I am honoured to walk into Ormiston Venture Academy each and every day and work together with students, staff, governors and parents who share the belief that every child deserves a world class education. It is impossible not to enjoy every moment.”

Nick Hudson, Chief Executive Officer at Ormiston Academies Trust said:

“We are extremely pleased that the outstanding work Simon has done at Ormiston Venture Academy is being recognised. Despite all of the amazing progress the school has made, he is constantly striving to continue to improve it, and above all he really listens and responds to the needs of both students and staff. Simon serves as a real inspiration and expert to academies across the Trust, and we feel privileged to work with him.”

Michael Morpurgo, celebrated author and former Children’s Laureate, and President of the Teaching Awards Trust, said:  

“Over the past year, we have, all of us, come to appreciate and respect the value of teachers. They have so often been taken for granted. Not any more. Parents know now what it takes to teach, and teach well, and how much commitment, dedication and enthusiasm and knowledge and understanding, yes – and patience.

“Children know it too, if they didn’t before. So many missed their teachers as well as their friends. We all honour them today. Let’s now praise them, wish them well and above all, thank them.”

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson UK, said:

“Congratulations to all of our Silver Award winners for their commitment, dedication and passion for their work. Despite the incredible challenges they have faced over the past few months, school staff have risen to the occasion time and again.

“It is so important to recognise and celebrate teachers, teaching assistants and lecturers for the impact they have on our young people every year, and that is why Pearson is delighted to support these Awards.”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“My warmest congratulations go to all this year’s silver award winners. They should be proud to receive this recognition of their commitment to the profession, and the outstanding education and guidance they provide for their students.

“Teachers and school staff up and down the country consistently go above and beyond for their students, and this is especially true over the past few months. It is down to their hard work that schools have been able to open their gates to all pupils again for the start of the new term, and I cannot say thank you enough for everything they have done.”


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