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EFQM 2011 Prize Winner

Oct 2011 : Bradstow School Achieves:

EFQM 2011 Prize Winner in Leading with Vision, Inspiration & Integrity and Succeeding through People:

 autism school

Following last year’s success as Prize Winner in Customer Focus, we submitted ourselves for the arduous assessment again this year and were once again on the list of finalists. This year’s ceremony was held in Bilbao, Spain, and I was lucky enough to be one of the members of staff pulled from the hat to attend the Award Ceremony and Gala Dinner.

Our adventure began in the very early hours of Tuesday 5th October when we left the school somewhat bleary eyed at 3am to get to Stansted. The green bus did us proud and got us there (and back) safe and sound, and without incident – which is more than can be said for it on its return, you know who you are! The hire car journey and arrival at the hotel were slight adventures, but that’s a whole story by itself.

After a bit of a freshen up we set out to show Bilbao the best that Bradstow has to offer: Dawn, Jamie, Alice, Bert, Charmaine, Amy, Darren, Joe, Tom & Mike. On a personal note, I should add that it was a great group of people and it was lovely to have the opportunity to get to know people better from other areas of the school, and we had a lot of fun! The weather was lovely, hot and sunny, and the lunch we found was lovely even though some of the local specialities were somewhat ‘interesting’.

Our early start meant that we needed to make full use of the Spanish siesta time before beautifying ourselves to mix with the other finalists at the Award Ceremony. We did scrub up well too!

The EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) Excellence Model and its awards aim to assess organisations in many areas of their business, and is the pinnacle of achievement at its level. The majority of organisations applying for the award have already achieved the highest recognised standards in regional and country awards prior to their application. Not us, we applied last year without that experience, and on our first application were not only finalists, but award winners – this is unheard of, and just shows how good we are at what we do. To be assessed as finalists again the next year is another massive feat.

Registering for the event was our third adventure, but when we finally had our table we sat down and let the nerves set in.  It was then that the nature of some of the other finalists hit home; we were up against huge businesses including Bosch, Siemens and Liverpool John Moores University. As Bert later said, how can a little school on the top of a cliff at the end of the train line in Kent possibly compete against these giants?

The award ceremony began with speeches from some extremely high powered figures from the EFQM and the European business world. Then we were into the list of finalists. As these went on, with each finalist giving a short speech about why they applied and what they have achieved, our table got very twitchy; were we going to be read out in this list, or were we going to be the next list of actual award winners? The last finalist was read out and it wasn’t us! That meant we had an award. Again. Second year running.

As the awards were given out (you will soon see our new glass brick displayed in the school) we listened to the speeches of the winners. The speeches centred on the organisation’s use of the EFQM Excellence Model and the prestige of the award, and although relevant, didn’t really give us much of a clue about what the business was about. Then it was our turn, the host said “Bradstow School: Prize Winner in Leading with Vision, Inspiration & Integrity, AND Prize Winner in Succeeding Through People” and Bert made his way to the stage to plenty of cheering and whooping from us, and maybe a little bit of emotion from at least one of our number. As usual, Bert spoke with obvious passion about the school and about what we achieve and the goals that are set to enable our special children. This was so far removed from the business oriented speeches we’d already heard that it easily got the loudest round of applause of the night. We set to celebrating in style and throughout the evening were congratulated by many of high powered business people who had not managed our level of achievement.

Not only are we prize winners for the second year running, with the first year being our first submission, but we have also won awards in three different areas. This again is unheard of. To put it in perspective, the huge organisations I mentioned earlier (Bosch, Seimens and John Moores) did not win awards. To put it into further perspective, Bosch has a turnover of €450 Million and 1600 employees, so as Tom said at our debriefing at a cider house the following evening, it’s like the triumph of David over Goliath!

All in all, we should all be very proud of this achievement as it proves what we already know, that Bradstow School is an amazing place and we do amazing things.


Published on Sunday 9th October 2011

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Ofsted Outstanding 2008-2009, BCS, Cache, EFQM, Wandsworth, Sen Specialist Schools, Healthy School, Investors in People | Champion, Silver, iNet, Specialist Schools and Academies Trust
Bradstow School
34 Dumpton Park Drive
CT10 1BY
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