Ponders End headteacher wins top education prize

Heron Hall Academy boss named ‘headteacher of the year’ at national awards ceremony

Arthur Barzey (centre) receives his 'headteacher of the year' award from Tes Schools Awards host Richard Ayoade (left)
Arthur Barzey (centre) receives his ‘headteacher of the year’ award from Tes Schools Awards host Richard Ayoade (left)

The head of a Ponders End school has been named ‘headteacher of the year’ at a prestigious education awards ceremony.

At the Tes Schools Awards, billed as one of the biggest nights in the UK education calendar, Arthur Barzey from Heron Hall Academy won the top teaching prize for his efforts at turning the Ponders End school into a “place of hope”.

Arthur Barzey swapped a promising career in medicine to become the inspirational leader of Heron Hall Academy, a large secondary school first opened in 2013.

Judges at Tes, formerly known as Times Educational Supplement, praised Arthur for “enabling young people to follow their dreams to wherever their talents can take them”.

Born and raised in Sierra Leone, Arthur was said to have “a laser-like focus on developing character and self-belief” at Heron Hall while embedding pastoral care, creating a careers programme in partnership with Enfield Caribbean Association to promote ethnic-minority role models, and inviting diverse external speakers – from High Court judges to world-leading speechwriters – to inspire students.

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Tes Schools Awards judge Julie Robson said: “Arthur comes across as outstandingly inspiring. He focuses on pride and aspiration in a disadvantaged multicultural community, and is all about aspiration and inclusion. He has a huge personal impact and stands out as a great leader.”

Arthur said the award was won thanks to efforts from across the whole school. He said: “This will mean a tremendous amount to the school. The whole team puts itself above the call of duty and we are a real family. This award is for that family.”

The Tes Schools Awards, now in its 14th year, celebrates the “extraordinary commitment, quality and innovation” shown by teachers and support staff. Tes invites nominations from teachers and teams within schools that are raising the standards of education and making a positive impact on the personal and academic success of students and the wider community. Entry for nominations is free and open to all state and independent schools in the UK.

Jon Severs, chief judge and editor of Tes Magazine, said: “The Tes Schools Awards are the Oscars of education, recognising and celebrating everything that’s great about our schools and school staff. We had so many entries from teachers and schools across the country; choosing the winners was no easy task. Congratulations to the winning schools and thank you to all school staff who do such vital work every day.”

The Tes Schools Awards 2022 were held at the Grosvenor Hotel on Friday night. They were held in person for the first time in three years, after two virtual ceremonies in 2020 and 2021.

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