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Schools succeed through team effort as well as individual effort. School achievement awards are intended to celebrate and reward those efforts and encourage further improvement.

The majority of awards are given to schools where pupil performance shows substantial improvement over time (typically a four year period) or where it can be demonstrated that pupil performance in a specific year is better than at most schools in similar circumstances.  Awards are also given to schools leaving special measures.

All maintained schools, non-maintained special schools (NMSS), city academies and city technology colleges (CTCs) in England are eligible for an award.  About 30% of schools win awards each year.

Awards must be used to fund staff bonuses. All staff, teaching and non-teaching, working full time or part-time at a school will be eligible for bonuses. This includes everyone who is eligible to stand or vote for a teacher or staff governor.

Please see our scheme leaflet and frequently asked questions for further information.

Round three (announced May 2003)

School achievement awards are being made for the third time this year. Awards are being given to schools where pupils' results in 2002 were substantially better than in 1999 or where results in 2002 were better than most schools in similar circumstances in that year. They are intended to reward staff teams at award-winning schools and to encourage further progress. Both teachers and support staff are eligible for bonuses funded by an award. With advice from the head, governing bodies decide how to share an award between staff.

The names of award-winning schools in round three were announced on 7 May. About 7,000 schools have won awards, equivalent to 30% of eligible schools in England. About £60 million will be distributed to award-winning schools through the Standards Fund in mid-May. A typical primary school will get about £5,700 and a typical secondary school about £25,700.

About three quarters of awards are based on rapid improvement. Most of the rest are for good results compared with other schools in similar circumstances.

  • Click here to search for a school on the Round Three (announced in May 2003) list of Award winning schools.

Guidance on distribution

With advice from heads, governing bodies of award-winning schools will decide how to share the award between staff. Guidance on how the awards might best be distributed has been provided. This has been revised to incorporate good practice from previous rounds. 

We have also put together a number of supplementary documents to provide additional support to governing bodies when deciding on award distribution:

Previous rounds archive

Click here to access information and winners lists for Round One (announced 15 March 2001) and Round Two (announced 22 March 2002).