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Sevenoaks School, Ashford School, Dulwich Prep and St Ronan's are all in with a chance for a Tes award

Four Kent schools have been short-listed in this year's Times Educational Supplement (Tes) Independent School Awards.

Sevenoaks School has been short-listed for the Whole School Community Initiative of the Year for its response to the Covid-19 crisis and is also up for the Strategic Education Initiative of the Year for the work of its Institute of Service and Social Impact (ISSI).

Jesse Elzinga, headmarter of Sevenoaks School
Jesse Elzinga, headmarter of Sevenoaks School

Headmaster Jesse Elzinga said: “We are delighted. Throughout the pandemic, Sevenoaks School has worked with local and global communities to identify needs and respond.

"Our existing relationships have grown stronger, and new friendships have developed, building upon our historic commitment to service."

He said: "We have worked closely with our district council and local groups in Sevenoaks, running collections, providing support for the elderly and creating mud kitchens to encourage local children to enjoy the outdoors."

Cat Davison, director of the school's ISSI said: "As part of our education we want to empower students, staff and the wider community with the knowledge and skills to drive sustainable and inclusive social change.

"We have shared best practice across the education sector, holding a national wide service conference, running a Kent-wide online social leadership programme, co-creating STEM and literacy programmes delivered by local volunteers in rural Ghana, and our students have supported the creation of a series of Covid community support toolkits."

Dulwich Prep School in Cranbrook
Dulwich Prep School in Cranbrook

Other schools short-listed from Kent include Dulwich Prep in Cranbrook for the Creativity Award, and Ashford School for Student Initiative of the Year.

A Dulwich spokesman said: "We are delighted. This award isn’t about individual projects in art, drama, music or design – or even in science, technology or humanities: it is about enabling children to think differently, beyond the strictures of the conventional curriculum."

Ashford's entry was based on the work of a Year 9 student Bo Willis who came up with two inspirational designs for future sanitiser pumps and hygiene: the Sanitiser Handle and the Sanitiser Wall.

The first took advantage of the fact that door handles are touched so frequently in daily life, what if they could dispense sanitiser at the same time? The wall idea involved a vertical garden of cleansing aloe vera and other plants for a public place, so passers-by could cleanse their hands simply by running them across the wall.

St Ronan's in Hawkhurst is shortlisted for three awards: Marketing Campaign of the Year, Wellbeing Initiative of the Year, and Prep School of the Year.

Ashford School: one of four in Kent to make the shortlists
Ashford School: one of four in Kent to make the shortlists

Headmaster William Trelawny-Vernon said: "We're tickled pink.

"Really all three of these entries relate to the way we did a daily TV broadcast and podcast during the lockdown to ensure the whole school community stayed in touch.

"It began with all the staff making contributions, whether it be baking cakes or origami, but as it went on more and more children sent in their submissions for inclusion in the daily shows and they really developed quite remarkable IT skill sets in the process."

Tes editor Jon Severs said: "Despite a difficult year for all schools, we have received an unparalleled number of entries this year, which is testament to the great work all have done during the pandemic."

He said: "The schools that have been shortlisted should be proud - it's a remarkable achievement."

St Ronan's School in Hawkhurst
St Ronan's School in Hawkhurst

The winners will be announced on Friday, April 30.

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