GORDON’S School in West End has been selected as a finalist in the national Goldsmiths’ Community Engagement Award in recognition of its work, particularly during lockdown.

The Surrey school, along with seven others from across the country, will face a team of judges at Goldsmiths’ Hall in London on 23 November.

The awards, which are student led, were launched in 2019 to celebrate the positive impact schools have through charitable and voluntary initiatives within their local communities.

Commenting on why the Goldsmiths’ Company had created the award, Mrs Judith Cobham-Lowe OBE, a liveryman and former Prime Warden a role equivalent to chair – of the company. said: “These activities are of vital importance to many people, but often go unrecognised.

“The Goldsmiths’ Company Community Engagement Award recognises the unsung heroes in schools up and down the country, young people who have given their time, energy and ideas to outstanding initiatives that support our local communities.”

For the regional finals, six students Brayden Kerr, Noah Schollick, Ann Robinson, Abigail Hunter-Blanco, Owen Carter and Uyime Ntia – presented to judges, including Mrs Cobham-Lowe. The judges described the school’s efforts as “inspirational” and noted that “community engagement is in the DNA of the school”.

The judges heard that as schools closed for lockdown last year, students and staff at Gordon’s joined the national effort. Design Technology teacher Tom Webb and his team made some 2,000 protective visors on the school’s 3D printer for hospitals, care homes, supermarkets and GP surgeries. Sixth-former Magnus Jackson continued the work, producing ear savers on his 3D printer.

Fellow sixth-former Toby Johnson, who was working for an undertakers, helped to collect the deceased from hospital morgues and homes in Surrey and Hampshire.

Edwin Sutton, the school’s internal fleet manager and a former traffic policeman, delivered blood products and COVID-19 specimens. He also joined the London Ambulance Service as a driver.

Staff in the catering department raided school tuck shops and kitchens for food and disposable gloves to donate to nearby foodbanks; two of the school’s medical centre nurses volunteered for duties at Frimley Park Hospital; and house parents boosted morale with their Lockdown Live music events from the school.

The hockey team raised over £1,200 for the NHS by setting themselves a running challenge, and one Year 8 student produced about 30 cakes a week for ICU staff at St Peter’s Hospital. She also designed colourful images and motivational messages to decorate ambulances.

Thursday-night claps for the NHS and keyworkers became very much a Gordon’s affair for neighbours in West End as students picked up their bagpipes to salute those on the frontline.

The Prince family, with four children, all of whom play or played the bagpipes, joined in with their instruments from their driveway.

More recently, a community art project Day in the Life of Lockdown invited members of the school and wider community to capture an element of their day in a photograph, to show how the community was connected during these challenging times.

In “normal” years, the school holds an annual Make a Difference Day when students visit local care homes, garden for the nearby church and infant school and sleep out overnight on the parade square at school to experience homelessness firsthand. Students bake cakes and serve tea to the elderly.

The school’s music department is involved with intergenerational music and visits care home residents to sing and play music for them.

This continued during lockdown via video recordings involving music every day in the lead up to Christmas, and more recently music compilations as part of a Lockdown Music Festival.

All sixth formers are required to perform at least 20 hours volunteering as part of the honours programme. Every student exceeds this, with some reaching more than 200 hours.Head teacher Andrew Moss said: “We are delighted to be finalists of this prestigious award, which recognises such an important part of life at Gordon’s.

“All our students are encouraged to take on responsibilities and contribute to life here and in the wider community through our extensive volunteering and service programme.

 “As well as helping to build confidence, these opportunities cultivate the character strengths of courtesy, integrity, diligence, enthusiasm and resilience which underpin the school ethos.”

* Gordon's community work has also earned the school a place in the final of the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) Awards for 2021 in the Best Community Work via BSA “On Board” initiative category.