A WIGAN high school is flying the flag for education in the north by scooping a top national prize.
Oakfield High will receive £50,000 for being named as a finalist in the 2015 Pupil Premium Awards.
Run by the Department for Education (DfE), the awards recognise achievements in helping disadvantaged pupils succeed.
Hindley Green based Oakfield is one of five finalists and the only representative from the north of England. They are now in the running to win the £100,000 top prize, to be announced next year.
Headteacher Catherine Taylor said staff and students were thrilled with the recognition of their dedication and hard work.
She told the Observer: “It was a rigorous process, we had visits from DfE representatives and were put under a lot scrutiny so they’ve really seen what we’re about here at Oakfield.
“We assess everything on individual pupil needs so they receive the support they need – it is our policy of integration and an inclusive approach which has driven our progress.
“It’s very emotional for us, this says a lot about education here in Wigan, we’ve got a lot to be proud about in the way disadvantaged young people are being helped.”
Representatives from the school will travel to London in March to find out whether they have won the top prize at a ceremony hosted by deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
Oakfield will be vying for the £100,000 cheque with Queensmill School, Shepherd’s Bush, Belmont Special School, Cheltenham, CE Academy, Northampton and the Bridge AP Academy, Hammersmith and Fulham. Schools Minister David Laws said: “The pupil premium is building a fairer society with opportunity for everyone.
“These schools demonstrate just what can be done with the pupil premium to enable every child to fulfil their potential, no matter what their background.
“These schools and their staff should rightly be proud of this achievement and I wish them the best of luck for the awards ceremony next year.