Top students recognised at Academy Excellence Awards

Academy Excellence Award team winners 2012
06 Jul 2012 18:26:12.733

PA /12

Outstanding students from across the country were recognised at the Academy Excellence Awards, sponsored by the David Ross Foundation and held at The University of Nottingham.

The Awards – which celebrate the academic achievements of students aged 16-19 – saw entries from more than 300 Academies across England in response to questions set by Nottingham academics.

The Team Award went to five students from the King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls, in Birmingham – who won a week-long trip to Malaysia.

Click here for full story

Amanpreet Nandhra, Merunisa Nazam, Shazia Jehan, Iffat Ahmad and Hajrah Zafar will visit The University of Nottingham’s campus in Malaysia, and spend a week finding out about life, culture and study in south-east Asia. As winners they also received a cash prize of £1,000.

Schools Minister Lord Hill said: “The winners of the Academy Excellence Awards should be very proud of their achievements. They have shown real talent and passion in their subjects and will no doubt go on to do great things.

“As more and more schools become Academies, I look forward to more taking part in this competition in the coming years.”

Inspiration Day

Before the awards ceremony, the 84 shortlisted students attended an Inspiration Day run in partnership with The University of Nottingham, where they took part in workshops on business and enterprise skills. They also met with University student ambassadors for a morning of university master classes and tours of the campus.

Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, said: “In establishing the Academy Excellence Awards, the David Ross Foundation showed real vision. It is an excellent way of encouraging students to stretch themselves. The ceremony itself was a great celebration of accomplishment enjoyed by all. I am already looking forward to next year’s event.”

David Ross, who graduated from the University with a law degree in 1987, is Chairman of the David Ross Foundation and Co-chair of Impact:The Nottingham Campaign. He has already committed £2.1 million to support Nottingham Potential, a multi-million pound commitment to break down the barriers to higher education.

‘Stand-up mathematician’ Matt Parker, who was a member of the judging panel and compered the awards ceremony, said: “The Academy Excellence Awards Inspiration Day and Awards Dinner were both a terrific success; and well done to all of the shortlisted students who were invited to attend.

“Special congratulations go to the winners and runners-up, whose work has demonstrated not only a high level of academic excellence, but also creativity and original thought. We wish them the best of luck as they embark on their fantastic internships, and hope that these will provide valuable insights into the world of work.”

Individual winners

A dozen individual winners were selected for excellence in particular subject areas, and will enjoy ‘money can’t buy’ work experience placements with one of the Awards’ sponsors or partners: the National Portrait Gallery, Alliance Boots, GlaxoSmithKline, British Sugar, Grant Thornton Associates, The Old Vic Theatre, Vodafone Foundation, Sotheby’s, Northgate Managed Services, Dawn Capital, Ashurst LLP, the Royal College of Music and The University of Nottingham. Winners also received £1,000.

The winning students were announced at an event on the University’s campus on July 4th:

• Team award: Amanpreet Nandhra, Merunisa Nazam, Shazia Jehan, Iffat Ahmad and Hajrah Zafar, Year 12, KEVI Camp Hill School for Girls
• Art: Jack Templeman, Year 12, Bishop Wordsworth’s Grammar School
• Biology: Joy Aston, Year 13, KEVI Camp Hill School for Girls
• Chemistry: Aaron Page, Year 12, Highcliffe School
• Design & Technology: Emma Carter, Year 12, Invicta Grammar School
• Economics: Benn Cowell, Year 12, Darwen Aldridge Community Academy
• English: Katriana Johnes, Year 12, Lancaster Girls' Grammar School
• Geography: Sophie Logue, Year 13, Southend High School for Boys
• History: Alice Pickthall, Year 12, Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School
• Mathematics: Kayleigh Higgins, Year 11, Walton Girls’ High School
• Music: Aaron Collins-Wood, Year 12, Garforth Academy
• Physics: Ann Sebastian, Year 12, The Tiffin Girls' School
• Politics: Joseph Trail, Year 13, Landau Forte College

The individual winners were selected by VIP judges Sandy Nairne, Professor Alice Roberts, Dr Chris Smith, Emily Cummins, Evan Davis, Susie Dent, Kate Humble, Dr Sam Willis, Matt Parker, Jamie Cullum, Dr Lucie Green and Jon Sopel, who assessed their essays with a panel of subject specialists and selected the winners and runners up from the hundreds of submissions received earlier this year.

The winner in the Team category was decided by an on-the-day presentation to a group of academics from The University of Nottingham.

Nottingham in Malaysia

The University’s Malaysia Campus, near to the national capital Kuala Lumpur, was established in 2000 and was the first fully operational overseas branch campus to be opened by a British institution. It now has 4,400 students from more than 50 countries.

The University of Nottingham also has a campus in Ningbo, China, which hosted the winners of the inaugural Academy Excellence Awards last year – a team from the Tudor Grange Academy in Solihull.

Tudor Grange Academy student Haroon Ahmed, 16, said of his first visit to China: “I have been planning to pursue a career in medicine, but after visiting China and seeing how many different opportunities there are available for people I have realised there are many other career options — particularly in business.”

Emily Beech, 16, who plans a career in law, said that she is now contemplating studying at The University of Nottingham in order to take advantage of the exchange opportunities between the global campuses.

“The people are very nice and the environment is great at Nottingham’s university in Ningbo. It looks like a great place to study. The campus is absolutely lovely. I like the idea of having the opportunity to study in other countries during my degree programme,” she said.

The theme of the 2012 Academy Excellence Awards was ‘Well-being and quality of life’, with essay questions set by experts at The University of Nottingham. The questions were intended to stretch and challenge students, requiring them to demonstrate their creativity and imagination and give them a taste of the lateral thinking required in higher education.

— Ends —

For up to the minute media alerts, follow us on Twitter

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has 40,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘the world’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking 2011.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news

The Academy Excellence Awards are open to students in Y11, 12 & 13 studying at academies in England. Academy Principals were invited to nominate one different student per subject category (Art, Biology, Chemistry, Design & Technology, Economics, English, Geography, History, Mathematics, Music, Physics and Politics) and one group for the group category. The 2011/12 Academy Excellence Awards follow a successful pilot year in 2010/2011.

The Awards steering group members are: Anthony McClaran, Former chief executive of UCAS and now QAA; Barbara Harrison, Independent education advisor and former chief executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust; Christine Homer, Trustee of David Ross Foundation; David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham; David Ross, founder of the David Ross Foundation; Kate Hobhouse, Chairman of Fortnum and Mason; Mark Bolland, Mark Bolland PR; Rusty Elvidge, Managing director of Credit Suisse and Tim Hastie-Smith, National director of Scripture Union.

The Academy Excellence Awards are sponsored by the David Ross Foundation. The Awards’ partner is The University of Nottingham. More information at

Story credits

More information is available from Sarah Savage or Alex Bevis at Four Colman Getty, 0203 023 9092, 0203 023 9012 or 07736 278697, or
Tim Utton

Tim Utton - Deputy Director of Communications

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8092 Location: University Park

Additional resources

No additional resources for this article

Related articles

'Trip of a lifetime' for Birmingham teenagers

Published Date
Wednesday 12th October 2011

Media Relations - External Relations

The University of Nottingham
YANG Fujia Building
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5798