The annual TESSA awards are open to all state and independent primary and secondary schools in the UK, with the winners in each category decided by a panel of judges including teachers, deputy and head teachers, and education experts from around the country. This is the 10th year of the awards, which TES describe as celebrating “the extraordinary commitment, quality and innovation shown by teachers and support staff across the UK. Hosted by comedian Al Murray, the gala ceremony took place at London’s Grosvenor House hotel.

Academy Principal David Benson was first to receive the Services To Education Award on behalf of KAA, which TES described as “In recognition of its extraordinary achievements in the most challenging of circumstances.”

He was later joined on stage by members of the academy team to accept the Secondary School of the Year award. In the words of TES, “the extraordinary work that KAA did to bounce back from the tragedy has been recognised with a TES Services to Education Award, but the school is also the winner of secondary school of the year title for its exceptional academic achievements.”

“KAA was graded “outstanding” in all categories in its first full Ofsted inspection in December 2017. “What the school has achieved is remarkable,” Ofsted reported. “Leaders have created a culture of high expectations and a commitment to excellence from all staff. The quality of leadership at all levels is exceptional.”

“The inspectors added: “Leaders and staff have shown determination, resilience and commitment in steering the school through what happened after the Grenfell Tower fire.” They noted that parents had been “full of praise for how well and sensitively leaders have managed the school since the event”, and said that the challenges of helping pupils and staff cope with the emotional repercussions of the fire had been “carefully managed”.

“In spite of the trauma of the Grenfell Tower fire, the “founder cohort” of KAA sixth-formers achieved an excellent first set of national results, coming in the top 10 per cent of schools for value added, with 61 per cent of all entries graded A-C.”

Sir Rod Aldridge, who has been on the governing body of the Academy since its inception, was present on the night to see the awards presented, describing it as “an amazing evening.”

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