City of Norwich School (CNS) has been named winner of the Secondary School of the Year award, sponsored by City College Norwich, at the Norfolk Education Awards 2023

CNS is a heavily oversubscribed secondary school that has served the community for 113 years.

The school’s motto of ‘Excellence In All’ reflects its vision of achieving the highest standards in everything it does.

It maintains its values and ethos to be a truly inclusive school that supports the care and development of the whole individual, treating everyone respectfully and valuing the things that make us different as much as the things that bring us together.

This is demonstrated through cultural celebration, social action and investment in SEND to ensure all children access the additional support they can need.

Academically, the school demonstrates excellence with year-on-year strong results, ambitious student pathways including Oxbridge and elite apprenticeships. This excellence has resulted in national awards and recognition for its curriculum, leadership, teaching and learning, careers and performing arts.

Established student leadership enables a strong student voice at the school. Head student-led legacy projects have resulted in whole school change including uniform, harmful behaviours and a heritage archive.

Students are taught by high-quality subject specialists who promote high cultural literacy and ensure students develop a life-long love of learning.

The judges said CNS “offers activities above and beyond what would normally be expected of a secondary school”, adding that the pastoral and inclusion team’s in-depth knowledge of every student is a real strength.

The judging panel thought the use of The Bungalow to provide tailor-made support for individual students was exceptional. They were also impressed by the support for pupils’ mental health and programmes for learning to help young people overcome barriers, including those with SEND.

Commenting on the award win, headteacher Jo Philpott said: “It means everything because it’s about the whole school community. It’s not an individual. It’s about what we all do every day to make sure that CNS is serving all of our families and our children.”

For more information on the Norfolk Education Awards, please visit the website.

To find out more about all of this year's winners, please click here.

The finalists

Norwich High School for Girls

Norwich High School for Girls offers a girls-first environment, warm community spirit and 
focus on wellbeing support that enables students to be uniquely themselves.

Through a holistic and broad curriculum, the school follows its ‘ACTIVE’ approach to learning, which is designed to suit how girls learn. 

The judges said it was clear that staff inspire their students to find their niche, adding that the school nomination evidenced a strong inclusive culture, with girls across the school acting as role models to the younger pupils.

Open Academy 

The Open Academy, Norwich, is at the heart of Heartsease, and its purpose is to provide a transformative education for the students in its community. 

Inspired by its Christian ethos, the school exists to develop every child, regardless of their beliefs and background. It is committed to delivering a constantly improving education. 

The judges said the school’s nomination showed it has an extremely dedicated teaching team, volunteering significant numbers of hours to after-school support for students.

They also commended the “excellent internship programme” and wide variety of extra-curricular activities to expand pupils’ skills and experience.

About the sponsor

City College Norwich puts students in control of their future, offering the best opportunities to learn, gain experience of work and succeed in their chosen courses. 

The college has the widest choice of courses in Norfolk, from A-levels to industry-focused vocational courses, degrees and apprenticeships.

Although the college has been established for over 127 years, a lot of the buildings on campus have been built or newly refurbished in the past few years. This includes the award-winning Creative Arts Building, redeveloped PMLD Building, ACE Centre and the new £11.4m Digi-Tech Factory, which is proving a real asset for a wide range of students.