The Avonbourne Boys’ and Girls’ Academies are celebrating after the achievements of students and staff were recognised in United Learning’s national Best in Everyone Awards 2022.

These awards saw teacher Rod Clayton presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his long-standing services to the school, alongside Sixth Former Anastasia Maunder-Taylor, who received the Leadership and Service Award.

Each year, the Best in Everyone Awards honour individuals, teams and departments across the Group for the exceptional contributions they have made to school and community life. This includes recognition for standout academic successes, sporting and musical achievements, and commitment to leadership and service.

Nominations were submitted earlier in the year and considered by a judging panel. There was a strong field of nominees in all categories for 2022, which makes it even more impressive that Mr Clayton and Anastasia were singled out as winners in their categories.

Mr Clayton first joined the school in 1980 and is currently marking his 42nd year of teaching. Throughout his time at the school, Mr Clayton has taken on a number of leadership roles, including leading the PE and maths departments. In his nomination, he is praised for bringing unwavering enthusiasm to his work, as well as “passion, dedication and his trademark humour and modesty”.

It is clear from the nomination how highly respected and popular Mr Clayton is amongst colleagues at Avonbourne and the impact he has had on students, past and present. Current European and Commonwealth Cruiserweight Boxing Champion Chris Billam-Smith, an alumnus of the school and previous student of Mr Clayton, named him as the individual who had inspired him to achieve so highly at school and in the sporting world.

Commenting on his achievement, Rod Clayton said:

“I am obviously greatly honoured to have received this nomination. My sincere thanks and appreciation go to all that have supported me in my career so far.”

Similarly, Sixth Former Anastasia was recognised for her efforts to create positive change in her local community, as winner of the Leadership and Service Award for 2022. Described as a “caring and courageous spirit” in her nomination, she regularly volunteers at local primary schools, dance studios and COVID-19 vaccination centres in order to give back and create positive change.

Commenting on her award, Anastasia said:

“This came as an unexpected yet gratifying surprise. I feel honoured to have been nominated for this award and am extremely grateful for my school and teachers for all the wonderful opportunities and encouraging support they have given me throughout my time at Avonbourne.”

Avonbourne’s two winners received their engraved glass awards on Friday 24th June at a special ceremony at The Queens Hotel in Leeds. 2022 marks the tenth year that the awards have been held and a return to an in-person ceremony following two years of virtual celebrations. Bespoke videos announcing the winners were also posted on United Learning’s Twitter account to coincide with the live event, giving over 10,000 peers, colleagues and family at home the opportunity to join in the celebrations.

Michelle Dyer, Principal at Avonbourne Boys’ and Girls’ Academies, said:

“I know our whole school community will want to join me in congratulating Mr Clayton on his award and in thanking him for his long-standing contributions at Avonbourne. Such a length of teaching service is hugely commendable; over this time, he has influenced countless groups of students and colleagues through his work, his positive attitude and his commitment to the school. We are delighted he has received this recognition.

“Likewise, as a young leader, we are very proud of Anastasia for her award and for her dedication and care towards important local causes. She is an excellent role model for our younger students and shows just how much impact you can have – even as a young person – by giving up your time to support your local community.”




Students and staff take part in national ‘Big Walk and Wheel’ initiative to promote cleaner travel and active lifestyles.

Between 21st March and 1st April 2022, students across all year groups at Avonbourne Academies have been participating in this year’s ‘Big Walk and Wheel’ initiative.

Organised by charity Sustrans, the initiative is the UK’s largest inter-school walking, wheeling, scooting and cycling challenge. The purpose of the initiative is to promote a healthy and active lifestyle amongst young people by encouraging them to walk or wheel to school instead of using other modes of transport. It also inspires local communities across the country to work together to reduce congestion and improve air quality in their local areas.

Students, led by the schools’ Eco Committee, immersed themselves in the challenge arriving at school by foot, on scooters and on bikes. Those students who live further away from the academy were also encouraged to get involved in the active challenge by taking up some form of physical exercise during the day.

Andre, a Year 11 student at Avonbourne Boys’ Academy and Eco Committee member, said:

“I cycle to school every day to ensure I am doing my best to protect our environment.”

Alicia, a Year 11 student at Avonbourne Girls’ Academy and Eco Committee member, said:

“I believe we all hold a strong responsibility to care for the environment for future generations.”

Laura Tsabet, Associate Assistant Principal at Avonbourne Academies, and Carbon Neutral Champion, said:

“Participating in the ‘Big Walk and Wheel’ has been such a joy. Over the last two weeks, we have seen the percentage of students walking or wheeling into school increasing, and more students are actively talking about the positive impact of this change on their physical health, as well as on their general wellbeing. Hopefully this event has achieved its purpose of reducing pollution and raising awareness of the environmental issues that affect us all. I'd love this to be something we can participate in annually.”



Year 13 student showcases impressive creative talents to reach final ten in United Learning’s annual art competition.

Anna, a talented young artist in Year 13 is in the running to take home the top prize at United Learning’s International Art Competition after her work was selected from 57 entries for the final shortlist. 

The art competition, now in its 14th year, challenges students aged between 15 and 18 across the Group to draw, print or paint an original piece of artwork and submit a high-quality digital photograph of the piece. Those students who finish in the final four are given the opportunity to have their work displayed at Tokyo’s celebrated International High School Arts Festival, whilst the winner receives an all-expenses paid trip to Japan to see their piece exhibited in person. 

Having progressed through the first two rounds of judging, Anna is one of ten students across the country to see her work be shortlisted. Anna’s artwork is an acrylic self-portrait painting called ‘Anticipating Change’. The painting reflects the crossroads that Anna is approaching, as her Sixth Form journey draws to a close, and she embarks on the next stage of her life.  

Speaking of her achievement, Anna said: 

“I am surprised but feel incredibly fortunate that I have been selected. The calibre of artwork in this competition is really high so I am proud of my achievement so far. I am thankful to the school for giving me the opportunity to showcase my work in this way, and also for the support of my teachers.” 

Jane Davies, Head of Art, said: 

“We are incredibly proud of Anna. She has worked extremely hard and her work is a reflection of her skill as well as her deep personal connection to the theme of her project. Anna is a fantastic ambassador for the academy and is a credit to the art department. Well done Anna!” 

Michelle Dyer, Head of School, said: 

“Congratulations to Anna on being shortlisted in this prestigious competition. She has depicted a stage of her life with stunning personal expression. We are all immensely proud of her and look forward to continuing to support her in her artistic endeavours.” 

All ten pieces will now go before United Learning’s Executive Team and a panel of professional artists who will have the difficult task of voting for their favourite artwork. The winners and three runners-up will be announced via social media on 17th March. 


Congratulations to Sophie in 8AG3 who won a competition organised by our local MP Tobias Ellwood. 

Her winning Christmas card design was picked from over 400 entries from other local schools.  Sophie's illustrations can be seen below.





On August 12th, students and staff at Avonbourne Boys’ and Girls’ Academies joined together to celebrate the awarding of GCSE grades.

This year, as with A Levels, GCSEs were awarded following Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) due to the cancellation of external examinations. As part of this assessment process, students at Avonbourne Boys’ and Girls’ Academies sat in-class exams and completed coursework.

The morning was an excellent opportunity to congratulate students for their hard work and perseverance, particularly in the face of disruption caused by the pandemic. Standout individual successes at Avonbourne Girls’ Academy, include Lauren Old, Megan O’Connor, Amelie Scott, Yasmin Karakus, Isabelle Robinson and Ariana Thaneja.

The news came after the school’s Sixth Formers received their A Level grades earlier that week. Many of these Year 13s are now set to take up their places at top Russell Group universities, including University College London and the University of Southampton.

Stuart Ingram, Executive Principal at Avonbourne Boys’ and Girls’ Academies said:

“I am delighted for every student who is celebrating today because these qualifications are testament to their hard work over their five years here. This year of course is unlike any other so it’s not a case of comparing results with those that have been achieved by previous cohorts. Everyone here knows how far the academies have improved in recent years and we look forward to sustaining this success and building on it further in the future. “We now have a thriving Sixth Form at Avonbourne Boys’ and Girls’ Academies which this week celebrated some notable individual successes at A Level. We very much look forward to welcoming many of today’s achievers back to school in September where they will be taking up their own places in our Sixth Form.”




In the Bournemouth Echo...



Students and staff at Avonbourne Boys’ and Girls’ Academies are celebrating after two students won awards at United Learning’s Best in Everyone Awards 2021.

Each year the awards celebrate the impressive achievements of students, staff and teams in schools across United Learning. They recognise a wide range of successes, including exemplary academic performance, dedication to leadership and service, as well as lifetime achievement. 2021 marks the ninth year that the awards have been held and the second year that the presentation has been conducted virtually. 

As part of this year’s online celebration, each winner was announced via a personalised video, shared on United Learning’s Twitter feed to an audience of over 10,000 users. The bespoke videos include a photo of the winner, as well as a recorded message from a member of the senior leadership team at the winner’s school. 

The winners at Avonbourne Boys’ and Girls’ Academies were Isabel Pretty, who won the Young Hero of the Year Award for students in Years 10-13, and Anas Benmoussa, who won the Business Award. In picking up these awards, the winners saw off strong competition from a range of exceptional nominees across the country, with 400 nominations being submitted in total. 

As a young carer to her father and late mother, Year 11 student Isabel was crowned Young Hero of the Year for her strength, resilience and determination. In the face of incredible adversity, Isabel has remained committed to her learning and is always kind and respectful to the people around her. She is an inspiration to students and staff alike.

Taking home the academy’s second award was Year 11 student Anas Benmoussa, who won the Business Award for the enthusiasm and commitment he shows to the subject. Anas goes far beyond what is expected of him in the classroom, seeking further opportunities with key partners in the field, including taking part in a virtual work experience with construction and engineering company Sir Robert McAlpine.

Commenting on his success, Anas said:

“Hard work and determination is truly what has got me this far. Thanks to the support I have received from my peers and teachers, I have been able to see that there is always success after hardship, as long as you don’t give up. I would like to thank everyone at Avonbourne Academy for the invaluable experience I have been given.”

To commemorate their outstanding achievement, the winners are each set to receive a glass award which will be posted to their school in the coming weeks. 

Stuart Ingram, Executive Principal at Avonbourne Boys’ and Girls’ Academies, said:

“Congratulations to Isabel and Anas on these excellent achievements. I am constantly amazed at Isabel’s compassion, dedication and strong work ethic. Despite having to contend with a number of difficult challenges, she always comes to school ready to learn and make a full contribution to our school community. I am thrilled that she has been recognised in this way.

“Anas’s ambition and drive to succeed is infectious. He is always looking to go above and beyond and achieve his very best. I am sure he has a long and successful career ahead of him.”


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