And the winner is….

We’re pleased to announce the winner of our Open Your Space Awards for 2018.  The inaugural award recognises strong partnerships between schools and their local community.

Buckinghamshire based Amersham School, has been awarded the £8,000 cash prize, in recognition of the school’s purposeful and strategic engagement with its local community. The Open Your Space Award aims to recognise long-lasting partnerships between schools and their local communities. Amersham School was chosen from over 100 entries.

Amersham School stood out from all the other nominees as a result of its outstanding partnership with the Pauline Quirk Academy (PQA), which provides performing arts tuition for children and young people from 4-18 years old.

The School has let out its facilities to PQA, which holds performing arts classes in its dance and drama studios, for the last 18 months.  As well as providing weekend tuition for the local community, PQA offers work experience to Amersham School’s students interested in the performing arts and extra support in preparation for drama examinations.

The partnership is mutually beneficial, providing PQA with access to excellent facilities and students at Amersham School with classes that help them to develop vital communication skills, which the school would not have otherwise had the capacity to teach.

Kajima recruited Managing Director of School Lettings Solutions (SLS), Paul Andrews as their independent judge who was given the difficult task of selecting the winner from nominees that included schools, hirers and members of the community. School Lettings Solutions (SLS) have been partnering with Kajima Community since 2012, to deliver fully-managed lettings services in schools using Kajima’s BookingsPlus lettings software.

Sharon Jarrett, Head Teacher, Amersham School, commented:

“I am thrilled that Amersham has been recognised for its engagement with the local community. We love letting out our facilities to the Pauline Quirk Academy and seeing the positive impact it has on the self-esteem and confidence of our young people. Through this partnership we have been able to offer our students with the opportunity to participate in workshops and work experience that they may not have otherwise had access to.”

Chris Smith, Head of Kajima Community, commented:

“We are delighted to have awarded our Open Your Space Award to Amersham School, their partnerships with a local performing arts academy has worked to further community engagement which is what we sought to encourage when we introduced the award. We recruited Managing Director of SLS, Paul Andrews, as our independent judge who was given the difficult task of selecting the winner from over 50 entries down to a shortlist of just five. Nominees ranged from grassroots sports clubs through to schools that throw community events for over 500 people; it has been encouraging to see just how active and committed the entries are to their local community.”

Paul Andrews, Managing Director, SLS and Head Judge said:

“It has been great to see so many schools going above and beyond to support their local communities. It was certainly a difficult task to select the winner of the inaugural Open Your Space Awards from five excellent nominees, however, Amersham School stood out for its unique commitment to forming strong and mutually beneficial partnerships in its local community.”