The Geography department at Thomas Tallis School in Greenwich, London was announced as winner for the Bernice McCabe Award at a Ceremony last night at the Mercers’ Hall, London. Bernice McCabe OBE, who passed away in February 2019, was the founding Co-Director of the PTI and believed in the transformative power of inspiring subject teaching.

The Award celebrates excellence in subject leadership in schools, recognising departments that put quality subject teaching at the heart of the classroom. A £5,000 prize and trophy is awarded annually to an exceptional department which demonstrates the ethos and values of the PTI through their work within and beyond the curriculum.

The Geography department at Thomas Tallis School has won for designing and implementing an intellectually rigorous and engaging curriculum that inspires pupils of all abilities and aptitudes. Teachers' deep subject expertise and passion has become the focus of lessons that lead pupils to think deeply, rapidly building their understanding and knowledge base as well as subject specific skills.

Ambitious lessons are designed to develop pupils' global perspective simultaneously with their appreciation of the significance of geography in their local community and its relevance to their lives in real time. The sense of energy and excitement in learning has become a routine characteristic of geography lessons at Thomas Tallis School making the study of geography an attractive, revealing and essential life experience for all.

Hugh Rayment-Pickard, Co-Director, the PTI said: “The PTI is delighted to announce the Geography department at Thomas Tallis School as winner commended of the respected Bernice McCabe Award 2023. This award recognises teachers and departments across the country who continually go the extra mile for their students. The Award allows the PTI to highlight excellence in subject leadership, and the impact that quality subject teaching can have in the classroom. Many congratulations to this year’s shortlisted departments, and to the tremendous subject teachers impacting young people’s lives around the country.”

Hannah Lees, Head of Geography at Thomas Tallis School said:‘At Thomas Tallis we believe in Geography to understand the world and change it for the better. Our new KS3 curriculum was designed collaboratively with the department to make sure that all students regardless of GCSE options had a clear understanding of place knowledge and contemporary global issues through enquiry, projects and decision-making exercises. Our Earth day celebration invites experts in different geographical fields to give an insight into the wide range of jobs and vocations Geography can offer, allowing our students to explore the possibilities of a geographical future.’

Jon Coles, Chief Executive of United Learning, said: ‘It was a pleasure to Chair the panel of judges for the Bernice McCabe Award and to see once again the passion and excellence of subject teachers and departments working with the PTI. Visits to our shortlisted departments showed their exceptional commitment to the principles and values of the PTI as they create exciting and scholarly subject teaching. It is a particular pleasure to congratulate the geography department at Thomas Tallis for the ambition of their work and the genuine excitement in learning we have seen there.’

The trophy awarded to the winner was designed by award winning designer, Sophie Conran, and will be passed onto future winners annually. The prize money is used to advance the values of the PTI within the winner’s school, fund travel to visit other schools and disseminate the work which has been recognised by the Award.

The judging panel consisted of Sir Jon Coles, Chief Executive of United Learning, Rod Mackinnon (Bernice’s husband, former Headteacher, and Education Consultant), Professor Dame Alison Peacock (CEO of the Chartered College of Teaching) and Professor Helen Cooper (formerly Head of the English Faculty at the University of Cambridge).