Celebrating Achievement

Last updated: 23/03/2018

“Students’ achievement and progress, within St. Mary’s and the wider community, is rewarded through regular celebrations, displays and online.”

St. Mary’s firmly believes in the promotion, recognition and reward of achievement of pupils.

We seek to:

  • Develop and foster a ‘growth mindset’ in our students so that they continually seek
    to improve themselves and seek opportunities for service to others
  • Reflect and instill the values of the school
  • Recognise student achievement in all its forms
  • Increase the self-esteem of all students
  • Reinforce good behaviours and attitudes
  • Motivate students to be the best that they can be
  • Create and maintain a positive school environment for students and staff alike


Within and beyond lessons, every school day offers the opportunity for members of staff to recognise and reward the achievement, effort and behaviour of students. All members of staff should consistently provide opportunities for students to achieve. All members of staff should take every opportunity to celebrate, recognise and reward the achievement of students. Praise and positive reinforcement of students in lessons and beyond is a significant motivator.

Twitter and YouTube

We use our official Social Media channels on Twitter @StMarysMenston and YouTube to highlight pupil achievements.

Press Releases

Outstanding achievement such as Awards, Certificates, success in competitions etc
should be recognised with a Press Release and photograph being sent to local media contacts. 

School Website

St. Mary’s website and Twitter account is updated daily and provides an excellent way to publicly celebrate the achievement of individuals or groups. The most popular news stories receive over 10,000 pageviews.


At Masses such as our Year 13 Leavers’ Mass and Feast Day Mass we celebrate pupil achievement.


One of our main aims of our displays around school is to celebrate achievement.

Weekly Form Tutor Award

Form Tutors may issue form tutor postcards each week at their discretion. Form Tutors can add a personal message to the reverse before passing to the pupil. For each postcard issued, form tutors initial the box in the planner and add a number of progress stamps at their discretion.

Progress Stamps

Where students are seen to be making excellent progress, contribute positively to the school community or are seen to be upholding the school values, any staff member can add progress stamps at their discretion to the pupil planner. Progress stamps are collated by the Form Tutor each half term using SIMS, reported to parents and are used to recognise and reward students at half termly celebration assemblies. In lessons, subject teachers and support staff may issue progress stamps to students for making better than expected progress, completing outstanding pieces of work, leadership within the classroom or through their contribution to class learning. All staff may issue progress stamps for student contribution to form activities, spiritual life, and extra-curricular activities and for living out the school values and ethos.

Celebration Assemblies

Photo: Year 11 Achievement Assembly, March 2018

Each half term, Student Progress Leaders will deliver an assembly in celebration of
progress, achievement and contribution in line with the school values. Students
achieving the most progress stamps and those with a clean behaviour record (no C2’s for each week of the half term) will receive certificates, recognition across their year group and Love2Shop vouchers. Students achieving a given threshold for progress stamps will also be recognised in assemblies and be entered in a prize draw. Using progress data collection information, certificates will be awarded for students identified as making outstanding progress. Student Progress Leaders may incorporate additional bespoke awards at their discretion.

Growth Mindset Awards

During the above celebration assemblies there will be special awards for those students who have consistently displayed an outstanding growth mind-set or have significantly improved their attitude, as indicated by pupil review data. In addition there will be a growth mindset Form Award who has attained the highest average growth mindset result since the previous celebration assembly. 

Personal Development Time

Pupil progress review data will be issued to parents four times a year. Alongside progress grades staff will also indicate a growth mind-set grade numbered 1-4. In addition there will be 4 ‘off timetable’ sessions each year during which there is an opportunity for form tutors to work with students as they review and evaluate their progress and set challenging SMART targets going forward. There will be bespoke activities arranged to motivate students and support them in developing a growth mind-set approach. This may range from developing key skills, teamwork activities, mindfulness activities or listening to key note motivational speakers. 

Letters of Recognition

On a termly basis, Student Progress Leaders/SLT will recognise outstanding progress and achievement through written communication with parents. Student Progress Leaders will coordinate this and will use a combination of progress points, growth mindset scores, progress data and anecdotal feedback from staff.

Subject Postcards

In addition to progress stamps used routinely in lessons, subject areas may recognise progress, achievement, leadership or contribution in their subject areas by issuing subject ‘well done’ postcards.

Student Thank You Postcards

Each academic year students will be afforded the opportunity to send a postcard to any staff member to say thank you for their support and guidance. This will be
coordinated by Student Progress Leaders. Form Tutors check postcards which will then be disseminated to staff.

Form Periods and Assemblies

Form Periods and Assemblies provide regular opportunities to recognise and celebrate achievement. A member of staff wishing to present an award or certificate in this way will liaise with the Form Teacher or with the Student Progress Leader.

General Letter to Parents

The weekly letter to parents is an excellent way to communicate and celebrate the achievement of individuals and groups. Members of staff will pass on items to include, but please let us know of any student achievements of note so we can include them.

Awards Assemblies (Years 7, 9 and 10) and CELEBRATION OF ACHIEVEMENT Evenings (Key Stage 3, 4 and 5)

We will celebrate the achievements of the school community at assemblies in the
summer term. Faculty and Pastoral teams will be represented at all evening events. Annual Awards Assemblies for Year 7, 9 and 10 will take place during the school day in the summer term. The Key Stage 3 Celebration
of Achievement Evening
for Year 8 students will take place in the summer term and the Year 11 Celebration of Achievement Evening and Sixth Form Celebration of Achievement Evening will take place in the autumn term following the publication of public examination results in the summer. Invited guest speakers and governors support these events. In addition to Form Tutor awards, all subject areas have awards for achievement and progress. There are also awards for conduct and contribution to the school and wider community. Success in inter-form and inter-school competitions is also recognised on these occasions. Whilst the categories for awards are well established, the school is always looking to extend the recognition of achievement. 

Pastoral Awards

Pastoral Awards for outstanding contribution to St. Mary’s will be awarded annually to students achieving the highest progress points (stamps) and through discussion and nomination within the Pastoral Year Team.

Attendance Certificates

Attendance certificates are presented at the end of each year to those students with 100% attendance and to those pupils whose attendance has shown significant improvement. Attendance Postcards are sent out as appropriate to recognise improvements in attendance by the Attendance Officer. The Attendance Shield is awarded to a Form Group in each Year Group with the best attendance record.

Governors' Awards

Special Governors Awards are presented for any outstanding achievement beyond the normal categories. Nominations are made through the Pastoral Committee.

Conduct Cup

The Conduct Cup is awarded to a Form in each Year Group deemed to have the best overall conduct throughout the year. Behaviour and progress points will help inform the recipients.

Martin Green Award for Outstanding Achievement

The Martin Green Award for Outstanding Achievement is presented annually at a
special assembly. The award is presented for ‘Outstanding Achievement’ in sport to a Year 8 student.

Michelle Stott Award

The Michelle Stott Award is presented annually in memory of Michelle, a former pupil who died in 1989. The Award is presented to a Year 11 girl for outstanding progress in Physical Education.

Sbonelo Magwaza Award

Sbonelo Magwaza was an outstanding young leader from our partner school in South Africa who was mentored by St. Mary’s students. Sbonelo died in 2010 and annual awards are made in his memory for outstanding leadership relating to the Bambisanani Partnership at both St. Mary’s and Mnyakanya.

Bambisanani Certificates of Excellence

Bambisanani Certificates of Excellence are awarded to students and members of the wider community for outstanding contributions to the Bambisanani Partnership.

Erin’s Gift

Awarded to a Year 11 student for outstanding progress in Design and Technology.

Martin Green Memorial Award for Excellence in Rugby

Awarded to a male student for excellence in Rugby.

The Sue Hope award for ‘Living Out the Word’

Awarded to a student who has managed to live out the Gospel values in the face of diversity.

The Molybdenum Prize for Creative Thinking in Chemistry

Awarded to a Year 13 student to remember and celebrate the life of Mo Hooley, a much loved former teacher at St. Mary's.

The Eric Dawson Award for ‘The Distance Travelled’

Awarded to a Year 13 student who has shown perseverance and endurance to gain success.

The Stephen Botterill Award for excellence in the physics of force and motion

The Stephen Botterill Award for excellence in the physics of force and motion is awarded annually. The prize is to remember and celebrate the life of Stephen Botterill. Stephen was a St. Mary’s Menston pupil who loved steam power and physics.

Awards from External Agencies

We seek to participate in external awards schemes, including:

  • Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Award for Young People
  • Diana Certificate of Excellence
  • Leeds Rotary Club Youth Awards: Service Above Self
  • Aireborough Rotary Club Awards: Community Service
  • The Duke of Edinburgh's Award

Annual Rewards Day

An annual Rewards Day is held in September for students in Years 8–11 who meet the set criteria (to be reviewed on an annual basis) for a positive contribution to school life, at the discretion of the Pastoral Team. The visit will be for a full day off-site, co-ordinated by the Pastoral Team.