The new headteacher of Caereinion High School collected the Judges’ Award at this year’s Powys Business Awards after being commended for embracing the business community and seeing the benefits of partnership working.

Philip Jones received the special award, sponsored by Mid and South Wales Chamber of Commerce, after the Llanfair Caereinion school was a finalist for the Investing in People Award, sponsored by PCI Pharma Services, at the annual awards dinner held at Dering Lines, Brecon last Friday night.

Organised by Mid Wales Manufacturing Group, the awards showcase business excellence across the county of Powys.

“This Judges’ Award allows us to look beyond the criteria and give recognition to something that we found special and during this year’s visits. We found many suitable candidates to put forward,” said award judge Emma Wilde. 

“Breaking down barriers and rebuilding confidence in an entire community, Phil has embraced the business community and truly sees the benefits of partnership working and bringing people along on the journey,”

“For us in Powys, we hope that this new thinking will encourage others in the sector to work more closely with the business community.”

Mr Jones said: “I am absolutely delighted to win this award. Businesses and education cannot work in isolation; they must work together in collaboration because schools have the future employees for businesses.

“Our mantra is ‘You don’t have to leave Powys to be a success’ and I think that schools working with businesses creates opportunities for our young people.”

Caereinion High School is central to the local community and by establishing Llanfair Caereinion Community Partnership Group, it now hosts a forum to discuss local issues and promote local groups.

Engagement with local businesses has resulted in EvaBuild, CastAlum and Dawson Shannon beginning mentoring programmes at the school to identify potential apprentices, Myrick Training supports learner discussions on future career paths while Cambrian Training delivers a pre-apprenticeship food technology course.

The vision statement for Caereinion High School, which has 60 staff and 450 learners, is “Opportunity for All”. The school has continually invested in its employees through training, development and engagement and is committed to high performance.

Eight staff have been promoted to emerging leaders’ roles, overseeing the implementation of key strategic priorities. All eight roles were filled internally to underline a commitment to succession planning.

Discussion and consultation on all aspects of the school development plan ensures that staff feel that their views are considered.

Developing a learning community is considered central to the school’s future success.