Advice on preparing your award application

Preparing and submitting your entry

We recommend that you:

  • plan to submit your entry/ies at least a week before the deadline, or even earlier if possible, so there is time to sort out any glitches or technical difficulties
  • have robust version checking in place as your entry is being prepared
  • confirm with your team that the correct final version of the entry is being submitted
  • ensure one person from your organisation has overview of all entries being submitted to avoid unintentionally sending in two entries for the same award as this is not permitted
  • follow the guidance and recommended file transfer methods when submitting any additional evidence.

Lessons learnt – what makes a strong entry?

Natspec received over 50 entries for the awards in 2020 with the number of entries spread relatively evenly over the six award categories. The standard of entries was generally high, but some stood out above the others and it was these that made it onto the shortlist.

The strongest entries:

  • included clear and focused summaries which set out the issues that were being addressed and how the new practices implemented were having positive results
  • addressed how practice and developments from the projects would be sustained
  • focused in depth on a particular aspect of practice, rather than providing a less detailed picture of a range of inter-connected developments
  • generally focused on an initiative relating to a broad group or whole cohort of learners; where the entry was concerned with an individual or very small group, it was clear how the whole college or wider community had also benefitted from the learning
  • included student feedback which illustrated enhanced experience and clearly illustrated the feedback loop.

Weaker entries:

  • provided less evidence overall; in some cases they did not take advantage of the option to include additional evidence sources or they submitted extra material that did not clearly demonstrate evidence of impact
  • did not show how learners had been directly involved in the project or initiative
  • focused on projects which had not had time to bed in and yield convincing impact evidence
  • did not clearly set out what made the approach innovative
  • covered too wide a range of work to enable sufficient detail to be included
  • demonstrated innovative practice but were not closely enough linked to the focus area for the award.