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The Clifton Awards

GCSE results haven't risen as much as would have liked at Farnborough. Not yet anyway. But anyone not involved with the academy needs to know that some amazing - not a word I use very often - work has been happening over the last few years which has made a real difference to lives.

Rugby success, Drama introduced, visits for all of Key Stage 3 to London, Stratford and Derbyshire, theatre visits, projects linking groups of students with big employers (East Midlands Airport, British Gypsum, Crowne Plaza and NTU), Photography displays at the National Portrait Gallery, mentoring by the local MP, seminars with footballers. And so it goes. Interest from OFSTED minimal. They're wrong. It all matters so much. It all helps to build confidence.

Last night the 3rd Clifton Awards were held. Lillian Greenwood MP and a poet called Rhythmical Mike presented awards to children aged between 9 and 13 from across the Clifton Family of Schools. Ben Chaloner compered - he's so Jonathan Ross - and Julia West organised it all - remarkable one woman show. It was sponsored by the Aquinas Foundation.

Will the event make a difference to lives? Yes. Interesting to hear Geoff Barton, General Secretary of ASCL, this morning on the news talking about the need to attract and retain the best teachers and leaders in areas less enthused by academic education. I agree. So let's encourage and praise.

Well done Farnborough staff - and thanks.

Phil Crompton