BSA Supporting Excellence Awards

The annual BSA Supporting Excellence Awards are our chance to celebrate the achievements, hard work, and dedication of schools and individuals in boarding.

We will be holding the awards again this year, which will once again be sponsored by Engage, with the winners being announced at our Annual Conference for Heads, which takes place on May 3-4.

Nominations for the BSA Supporting Excellence Awards 2022 are now open – all of this year’s award categories and entry information can be found below. The awards are open to all our member schools around the world and we look forward to seeing all your submissions. Good luck!


Full list of BSA Supporting Excellence Awards categories for 2022:


  • Best Community Work via BSA ‘On Board’ Initiative Award: In 2019, BSA launched its ‘On Board’ Community Action Programme to highlight the work undertaken in the community by boarding schools. This award will look at those schools who have participated in community projects. The judges will be looking at community-based initiatives undertaken by schools which could include: volunteering, litter picking, fund-raising, visiting the elderly, supporting the disabled, environmental planning.


  • Boarding House Extension or Refurbishment Award: This award acknowledges the work that schools have put in to providing pupils with an exceptional place to live, study and play. Focus is given to design, sustainability, and innovation of boarding houses and boarding facilities. The judges will be looking closely at design, sustainability and innovation.


  • Boarding Innovation Award: Celebrates an outstanding example of innovation to deliver better boarding. The judges will be looking for a clear description of an outstanding innovation that you have implemented in your school.


  • Boarding Research Award: This award recognises research undertaken by a school or individual into how to continue to improve the boarding sector and better meet students’ needs. The judges will be looking for a specific research project that has driven innovation, inspired change, and delivered results.


  • Most original activity during National Boarding Week Award: This award will look back at those schools that participated during the BSA 2021 National Boarding Week. The judges will be looking at how schools participated during the week and will consider those who participated in BSA events from the week, or those that organised their own unique events.


  • Stephen Winkley Award: This award commends the achievements of an individual who has made a significant contribution to the cause of boarding. This is the longest running BSA Award and is dedicated to the memory of Stephen Winkley who was BSA Chair (2003), and Headmaster of Uppingham (1991-2006) and Rossall Schools (2008-2013). All nominees must hold or have held positions with specific boarding responsibilities, which could include a Head, Deputy Head (pastoral), Housemaster, Housemistress, Houseparent, Matron etc. Nominees can be drawn from any level in an organisation, including Heads.


  • Supporting International Boarders Award: This award will commend a school or member of staff who has contributed to supporting international boarders, including helping them integrate into their new environment. The judges will be looking at initiatives that have been specifically designed to support international boarders (This award is open to all member schools worldwide with boarders from other countries).


  • Supporting Junior Boarders Award: This award commends a school or member of staff who has worked above and beyond to develop initiatives aimed at supporting junior boarders. The judges will be looking at those initiatives that have been introduced specifically to help junior boarders adjust to their new environment.


  • Wellbeing & Mental Health Initiative Award: The Wellbeing Mental Health Initiative Award celebrates schools that have embedded initiatives that provide supportive environments and programmes that enhance self-esteem, strengthen the school community, and activities that promote healthy choices. The judges will be looking for a new initiative implemented in schools which could include: creating supportive environments, strengthening the community within schools, programmes of work that enhance self-esteem and reduce harming behaviours, activities that promote healthy choices for physical activity and diet.


  • Working with Vulnerable Children Award: This award recognises that protecting and working with vulnerable children who board requires an in-depth understanding and an ability to approach each child’s situation in a unique way to best assist them. The judges will be looking to recognise schools that have made a significant contribution to the welfare and support of vulnerable children


  • International School of the Year Award: This award recognises a boarding school outside the UK which delivers excellence in boarding. The judges will be looking for a clear description detailing how the boarding environment supports boarders’ welfare, giving a specific example(s) where possible (This award is also open to international schools based in the UK).


  • Outstanding INDEX (Inclusion and Diversity Excellence) Leadership Award: This award is open to a member of staff who has shown outstanding leadership of Index work within their school. All nominees must hold or have held positions with Index responsibility, which could include Inclusion Lead or a staff working party member. The judges will be looking for a clear description detailing how the staff member has shown outstanding leadership and the impact that has had.


  • NEW: Best New INDEX (Inclusion and Diversity Excellence) Initiative Award: This new award recognises the best new initiative, launched from January 2021 onwards, which is aimed at increasing equity, diversity and inclusion within our member schools. The judges will be looking for evidence of the initiative’s impact through information and data you can supply which demonstrate its success.


  • NEW: Best Artwork Project Award: This new award will recognise the best artwork project carried out by a boarding pupil as part of their studies. The judges will be looking for any types of artwork which display outstanding levels of artistic flair and imagination. Please send through an electronic version of the artwork, along with a description and details of the original brief the piece was required to meet. Please ensure that any large files are sent by WeTransfer.


Entry requirements

Please write in no more than 500 words why you, your school or individual nominee should win the award. Please make sure you include your name, school, and which award category you are entering. You may also send in up to five pieces of supporting evidence (please send any large files by WeTransfer).

Khadija Saye Photography Award

We will also once again be handing out one very special award for the best photography portfolio by a boarding pupil. The Khadija Saye Photography Award is named in honour of the former Rugby School boarding pupil and respected international photographer, who tragically died in the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.

For this award, a portfolio of no less than three and no more than six original and unedited photographs can be submitted for entry, with full details of each picture, where when and why they were taken, and technical information. Again, please ensure that any large files are sent by WeTransfer.

Submitting your entry

Please send in your entries to by Friday March 25, 2022. Our panel of judges will then choose a shortlist of finalists for each category. Finalists will be notified in April, with the winners being announced at the conclusion of day two of our Annual Conference for Heads on Wednesday, May 4.


Please see below a full list of the winners and highly commended finalists from the BSA Awards 2021, sponsored by Engage:

Best Community work via BSA ‘On Board’ initiative award

Winner: Monkton Combe School

Highly commended: Rendcomb College; Gordon’s School

Boarding House Extension or Refurbishment Award

Winner: Ipswich High School

Highly commended: Summer Fields, Oxford; Sedbergh School

Boarding Innovation Award

Winner: Marlborough College, Malaysia

Highly commended: Bedales

Boarding Research Award

Winner: Alex Large – The Royal School Wolverhampton

Highly commended: Marlborough College, Malaysia; Bedford School; Sherborne Girls

Wellbeing & Mental Health Initiative Award

Winner: DLD College London

Highly commended: Dulwich Prep Cranbrook; Marlborough College Malaysia; Sherborne Girls

Supporting Junior Boarders Award

Winner: Godstowe Preparatory School

Highly commended: Sherborne Girls; Saint Ronan’s School

Supporting International Boarders Award

Winner: Bede’s School

Highly commended: Gordonstoun; Dollar Academy

International School of the Year Award

Winner: Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar (KTJ)

Highly commended: Sotogrande International School

Outstanding INDEX (Inclusion and Diversity Excellence) Leadership Award

Winner: Jami Edwards-Clarke – Hurstpierpoint College

Highly commended: Louise Fahey – Caterham School; Louise Wilson – Charterhouse

Working with Vulnerable Children Award

Winner: Lord Wandsworth College

Khadija Saye Photography Award

Winner: Luca Vasile-Berde – Rochester Independent College

Highly commended: Xiao Wang – St Mary’s School, Cambridge; Yao Xiao – St Mary’s School, Cambridge

Stephen Winkley Award

Winner: Wendy Lang – King William’s College

Highly commended: Lindy Themistocleous – Barnard Castle School; Rebecca Brown – Sherborne Girls

BSA Boarding Research Fellowship Award

Carla Shearman, Head of Boarding, Queen’s College, Taunton