This week, Dean Close’s student publication, THE QUAD, won a National Award for the Best Feature Article at Shine Media Awards held in Stationers’ Hall in London.
The Shine Media Awards invite entries from all student-led school magazines, newspapers and newsletters and we were notified in May that The Quad had reached the finals and would be judged against six other shortlisted schools. There are several categories of award, and this particular award (Best Feature Article) deals directly with style, clarity, purpose and impact of writing.
The final nominees in this category were: Abingdon School, Blackpool Sixth Form College, City of London School, Greenshaw High School. St Pauls Girls' School, Sutton Valence School, The Latymer School, The Gateway Academy, Tonbridge Grammar School and Withington Girls' School.
Sixth former, Sam Prance was judged to have written the best feature article in the country for his piece on homophobia in schools. The citation was read out by renowned journalist Simon Heffer, Chairman of the Judging Panel. He said:
"The judges highly commended Blackpool Sixth Form College and Tonbridge Grammar School. They awarded this prize to Dean Close School for its 'funny, very relevant and in many ways brave content.' It related very much to the school community in a very readable, intelligent and witty way. This was supported by a team who had gone outside of school and spoken to people on issues of interest. The judges felt that Dean Close School's feature article really stood out in this category."
There has already been press interest in re-running Sam's article; and what was clear from the reaction of the other schools and the judges, was how exciting it was that The Quad is unafraid of taking a moral stand and engaging with, not only issues of the day, but how these might affect the school community directly.
Their tutor, Rebecca Vines said: “I am so proud of Sam and Crissy for setting this up, and for Charlotte for all her hard work and wonderful ideas for how we can progress the publication next year. And although it is Sam's article that won the award, The Quad is very much a team effort - the judges consistently praised the sense of community and school-focus within the publication - and huge thanks and gratitude go to all of the contributors.”
Headmaster, Jonathan Lancashire, commented: "Sam’s article is thoughtful, honest and challenging. I strongly supported its publication in The Quad and I think that Sam’s authority within the School will have encouraged other pupils to think a bit before trotting out weary prejudiced put-downs. There is a debate to be had about sexual morality and how it relates to religious belief, but it should be open and reasoned, not intolerant and unthinking.
It still took a lot of courage for the editorial team to run this article and I am delighted that the Shine Awards have recognised its worth."
The Quad, founded in 2010 by Sam and Chrissy, is already on its 11th edition with features ranging from August Riots to School Gossip, Tuition Fees to Being a 'Geek'.
The read the winning feature article, please click here.