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The PTI has announced the Music Department at Mounts Bay Academy in Penzance, Cornwall as the winner for the inaugural Bernice McCabe Award. Bernice McCabe OBE, who sadly passed away in February last year, was the founding co-director of the PTI and believed in the transformative power of inspiring subject teaching.


The Award has been created to remember Bernice and to promote and celebrate excellence in subject leadership in schools and will be awarded annually to a practicing subject leader in a PTI member department.


The Music Department at Mounts Bay Academy have been developing a school record label to raise outcomes in Key Stage 4 composition. Students follow a skill based curriculum, perform their compositions to audiences and record them through the school record label. 


Claire Brown, Subject Leader of the Music Department said: “The music industry contributes hugely to the British economy and our project has helped to clarify that a career in music does not just come from winning a talent show, despite last year’s winner of The Voice coming from our school! Our focus has been on encouraging all of our students to be creative in composing, producing, performing and releasing their own music. Giving young people an opportunity to write about what is concerning them and how they feel about themselves, the world and society gives young people a voice in a time when they are increasingly feeling like they are not heard”.


Chris Pope, Co-Director, The PTI, said: “The Bernice McCabe Award will be awarded to a PTI member department which has demonstrated inspirational subject teaching, which is what Bernice believed should be at the heart of a good school. We are very proud of all the PTI members who inspire the next generation through their love of their subject, and we are delighted to have this opportunity to celebrate the exceptional work of the winning, Highly Commended and Commended departments. Bernice leaves us with a wonderful legacy, and all the teachers involved are richly deserving of this recognition.”



Professor Steve Munby CBE, Judge, said: “The quality of the applications for this award was extremely high and the judges were hugely impressed with each of those shortlisted. Powerful and effective subject leadership can transform learning for young people and the judges were clear that this was the case in the Music Department at Mounts Bay Academy.”


The prize consists of £5,000, which is to be used to advance the values of the PTI within the winner’s school, to fund release time and travel to visit other schools and disseminate the work which has been recognised by the Award. A trophy awarded to Mounts Bay Academy was designed by award winning designer, Sophie Conran and will be passed onto future winners annually. The PTI inspires teachers and school leaders to become more effective, enthusiastic and influential by putting subject-centred teaching at the heart of schools.


The judging panel consisted of Professor Steve Munby CBE (Chair of the Teaching Awards Trust), Carolyn Roberts (PTI Co-Director), Rod Mackinnon (Bernice’s husband, former Headteacher, and Education Consultant), Professor Dame Alison Peacock (CEO of the Chartered College) and Professor Helen Cooper (formerly Head of the English Faculty at the University of Cambridge). 

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