Spring Term Highlights 2024 Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust

Innovate, Inspire, Collaborate

Dear all,

It brings me great pleasure to share with you the latest edition of our Trust newsletter.

On behalf of the trustees and my executive team, I just wanted to say a huge thank you for your continued support as we continue to make a difference for the young people in our care.

As you read through the following pages, you will see just some of the great work that is regularly occurring across our Trust, both in schools and in our Central Team. From cross-Trust projects, partnerships and exciting opportunities with external organisations like the Birmingham Hippodrome Network and Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. There are excellent examples across the board which are a testament of our Trust values – innovate, inspire and collaborate – at work.

Please enjoy a restful Spring break and we look forward to welcoming you back for another term of outstanding teaching and learning in April.

Sir Mark Grundy, CEO

Trust Project Updates

Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust Welcomes Newfield Park Primary

Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust is delighted to announce and extend a warm welcome to Newfield Park Primary School.

Based in Halesowen, the primary school will begin its transition to becoming an integral part of the Trust in April, marking another significant milestone partnership in our collective efforts in driving educational excellence for our young learners.

As a Trust, we are excited about the possibilities this partnership will bring and its potential to redefine and shape the future of education in our community. We eagerly look forward to getting to know and working closely with Newfield Park Primary School’s community over the coming years.

Together, we are committed to making a profound difference for all our young learners, ensuring they receive the very best educational experiences that equip them for success in an ever-evolving world.

Introducing the Principal Designate for Wednesfield Technology Primary

In September 2024, Wednesfield Technology Primary will open its doors, marking a new chapter in the Trust’s journey as we continue to innovate in our commitment to educational excellence and growth within the community.

As part of this exciting endeavour, the Trust is delighted to announce the appointment of Mrs Claire Keeler as Principal of Wednesfield Technology Primary. Known to many within our community for her exemplary service as Vice Principal at Shireland Technology Primary, Mrs Keeler brings a wealth of experience, dedication and passion to her new role.

We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Mrs Keeler on this well-deserved appointment and all the best in her new role. Her leadership will undoubtedly inspire success and achievement at Wednesfield Technology Primary, and we eagerly anticipate the positive impact she will make for both school and pupils alike.

Explore and Book Our Academy Facilities with SchoolHire

In the heart of our community lies a hub of learning, and now, an open invitation extends beyond our classroom walls. Our school facilities across the Trust, including football pitches and sports halls, are available to hire through our new partner, SchoolHire.

As we unlock our doors to the community, local sports teams, clubs, and community groups are invited to utilise our spaces. This initiative is more than just an invitation — it’s an opportunity for mutual growth. By renting our facilities, you not only contribute to the financial vitality of the school but also support the development of academic programs, extracurricular activities, and the maintenance of our shared spaces. Your involvement enhances the overall educational experience for our students.

Beyond the financial benefits, the impact extends to health and wellness. Accessible sports facilities encourage physical activity and a healthier lifestyle for residents of all ages. Whether it’s local sports clubs, fitness classes, or recreational leagues, our spaces are ready to support a community committed to well-being. As these facilities become accessible, they provide a platform for skill development. Local sports teams and aspiring athletes can utilise these spaces to hone their abilities, fostering a culture of sportsmanship and talent development within our community.

By opening our doors to community events, tournaments and gatherings, we aim to strengthen the bonds that tie us together, building a supportive community that rallies behind school initiatives and projects.

For more details on how you can hire our facilities, click here.

Staff Vacancies

Governor Vacancies

Do you know anyone who would be interested in becoming a Standards and Performance Committee Governor? We have vacancies at the following schools:

  • Thorns Collegiate Academy: Community
  • Tameside Primary Academy: Community and Family
  • Wallbrook Primary Academy: Co-opted
  • Lightwoods Primary Academy: Co-opted

If you know anyone who would be interested, please ask them to email Emma Billingham at ebillingham@shirelandcat.net

Holyhead Primary Academy Hosts Medical Mavericks and CBSO Repertoire Project

Holyhead Primary Academy was buzzing with excitement this term as it hosted the Medical Mavericks and CBSO for two enriching events aimed at broadening pupils’ horizons and delving deeper into their creative talents.

The school welcomed Medical Mavericks for an immersive exploration of healthcare and careers in medicine, which included an array of practical workshops and demonstrations designed to unravel the mysteries of the health sector.

From keyhole surgery simulations to ultrasound scans, ECGs and learning to take their own blood pressure, the children were fascinated by the practical applications of medical procedures. These sessions not only ignited pupils’ curiosity but also offered valuable insights into the roles healthcare professionals play in healing and saving lives, including the variety of career opportunities available in the medical field.

From surgeons to nurses, paramedics to biomedical engineers, the event certainly sparked dreams and aspirations, ready to inspire the next generation of healthcare professionals.

But the learning didn’t stop there! Holyhead also had the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) visit, who filled the school with some wonderful melodies as part of the Repertoire Project.

Under the guidance of professional players from the CBSO, pupils had a wonderful time learning and experimenting with various instruments, melodies and rhythms. Through workshops focusing on musical composition and arrangement, children learned to hone their skills and creativity to produce their very own original pieces of music.

The highlight of the project was undoubtedly the final showcase performance, where pupils proudly presented their pieces to one another, with each being a testament to the boundless imagination, talent and potential of all our young musicians.

Events like these not only enrich the learning journey at Holyhead Primary Academy but also ignite curiosity and ambition among young learners. They provide invaluable opportunities to explore interests that may blossom into something truly remarkable.

Celebrating World Book Day with Author Tommy Morrison

The excitement was infectious at Lightwoods Primary Academy as pupils immersed themselves in the joys of storytelling for World Book Day, whether that was by reading independently, sharing their favourite stories with peers or discovering brand new titles! There were also some amazing displays of creativity as staff and pupils donned their best outfits in celebration of their favourite characters.

The highlight of the day was a special visit from acclaimed book illustrator Tommy Morrison, whose engaging storytelling and creative workshops captivated pupils as he shared his insights into the work that goes into creating a book. Children were also given the opportunity to grab their very own copy of Morrison’s ‘The Bim-Bam Boozle Bird’, complete with personalised messages, making for a fabulous keepsake from the day!

Year 6 pupils also experienced a memorable trip to Paris, where they fully immersed themselves in the local culture and explored iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. As well as engaging in activities like archery tag and savouring authentic French cuisine, pupils were also surprised with a visit to Disneyland Paris.

Pupils certainly had a marvellous time, returning with broad smiles and treasured memories that will certainly be treasured for many years to come.

Shireland Technology Primary Hosts Anti-Bullying Training

Shireland Technology Primary welcomed primary schools from across the West Midlands for an inspirational one-day Anti-Bullying training session, facilitated by The Diana Award.

Available to schools across the UK, this free programme sees qualified trainers teaching and empowering young people to become Anti-Bullying Ambassadors for their schools.

Working alongside their teachers, pupils learned about different forms of bullying and scenarios, both face-to-face and online. They then worked to develop the skills, resources and support needed to help them actively challenge attitudes towards bullying and support fellow pupils in their school community.

At the end of their training, pupils worked with their teachers to create an action plan on how they can approach issues of bullying that may arise in their schools, fully committing themselves to their new role as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors.

The programme’s sustainable and strong peer-to-peer focused approach to Anti-Bullying work has gained world-class recognition and reputation, placing the scheme and its ambassador schools at the forefront of positive change across the UK and beyond.

Lady Kirsty Grundy, Principal at Shireland Technology Primary and Director of Primary Education for Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust, said: “Shireland Technology Primary is proud to partner with The Diana Award and host the Anti-Bullying Training Programme.

“We strive to create a safe and inclusive learning environment where every child feels heard, valued, and supported. Through this programme, we continue to nurture empathy, kindness and understanding among our pupils, whilst empowering them with lifelong values of respect and compassion.”

Founded as a legacy to Diana, Princess of Wales, the charity aims to foster, develop and inspire positive change in the lives of young people through a range of programmes and mentoring, including the youth-led Anti-Bullying Ambassadors Programme.

The Anti-Bulling Ambassadors Programme has currently trained over 50,000 young people across the UK to lead Anti-Bullying campaigns in their schools.

Learn more about The Diana Award.

Pop-Up Pool Brings Swimming Lessons to Tameside Primary Academy

Tameside Primary Academy, in Wednesbury, has participated in a programme aimed at addressing the concerns of low swimming competency among primary school children.

In collaboration with Active Black Country and Swim:ED, the school has embraced a pioneering approach of bringing swimming lessons to schools, ensuring every child has access to vital swimming skills and water-safety awareness.

The Academy welcomed a fully functional and heated temporary swimming pool within a marquee, onto its grounds. These pop-up pools, spanning 10 metres, are a significant stride forward towards bridging the gap in accessibility to swimming education.

This follows statistics from Sports England, revealing that nearly one in four children in the UK leave primary school without basic swimming skills and are unable to swim 25 meters.

At Tameside Primary Academy, this facility has provided pupils in years three, four and six with access to an intensive course of learn-to-swim lessons, led by qualified lifeguards and swimming coaches.

Mitchell Hill, Principal at Tameside Primary Academy, said: “We firmly believe that every child deserves the very best learning experiences, including access to opportunities as essential as learning how to swim and being confident in the water.

“The impact of this programme extends far beyond the pool, helping to instil confidence in many of our young learners and promote the benefits of physical wellbeing for our pupils and wider school community.”

The temporary pool will remain for an additional month before concluding its three-month period at the school.

As Tameside Primary Academy reflects on the success of this initiative in its final month, the school’s dedication to delivering comprehensive and enriching educational experiences for its students remains constant.

Building on its track record, the Academy, which received a rating of good with outstanding features from Ofsted in 2023, continues to prioritise delivering a high-quality education for all children.

Ofsted’s praise for the Academy’s ‘unwavering determination’ echoes its commitment to ensuring that every pupil develops the knowledge and skills essential for success. This extends to the school’s diverse range of extracurricular opportunities, which have been highlighted for their enriching impact on pupils’ overall development.

Emphasising a ‘rich range’ of extracurricular offerings, including outdoor and adventurous activities, Tameside Primary Academy goes beyond traditional academics to develop well-rounded individuals prepared for life beyond school.

Celebrating Women and Girls with Football, Mother’s Day and the Joys of Reading

This term has been filled with much celebration and community building at Wallbrook Primary, with a variety of activities and events bringing pupils, staff and families together.

Our school was abuzz with excitement as pupils and staff donned costumes of their favourite book characters in celebration of World Book Day. Throughout the week, parents were also invited to join their children in our Story Escape sessions, providing them the opportunity to immerse themselves in some captivating reading experiences, whilst nurturing a love for the magic of storytelling.

For International Women’s Day, our school community came together to celebrate the invaluable contributions of women. Additionally, we were delighted to collaborate with the Girls’ Football Association, where Wallbrook took part in the largest-ever football session exclusively for girls. During break and lunch times, girls in primary schools nationwide participated in football sessions, championing teamwork, inclusivity and empowerment on a grand scale.

Another highlight of the term was our Mother’s Day breakfast event, where pupils, mothers and loved ones shared a morning filled love, gratitude, and appreciation.

This special occasion not only brought smiles to many faces but also deepened everyone’s appreciation and recognition of the incredible role that women play in shaping the lives of their children and families.

It served as a beautiful reminder of the love and care that enriches our lives every day and was filled with many special memories that will no doubt be cherished for many years to come.

Academy Launches L4L Podcast and Welcomes Social Entrepreneur and Influencer Wilfred Webster

Shireland Collegiate Academy was brimming with excitement as students welcomed social media influencer and TV personality, Wilfred Webster, whose visit was marked by captivating sessions aimed at empowering students to pursue their aspirations with confidence.

Beyond his work in social media and television, Webster is also celebrated for his expertise in fundraising, consultancy and social entrepreneurship, where he has also worked for renowned UK charities, including Cancer Research UK.

During his two-day visit, Webster shared valuable advice encouraging students to explore and cultivate their motivations, interests and passions as they plan for their futures beyond secondary education. Students then put these into practice by engaging in interactive workshops designed to help them set meaningful goals, ready to put into practice.

Drawing from his own educational experiences, Webster emphasised the importance of resilience and determination in personal growth and how this influenced his journey. He also highlighted the significance of perseverance, regardless of past challenges, and embracing one’s unique path as essential ingredients when striving for success, a message which resonated with both staff and students alike.

Webster also applied his expertise in dance by leading a creative masterclass and performance showcase with year 7 students and pupils from Shireland Technology Primary, who enthusiastically participated, honing their creativity and self-expression.

Moira Green, Principal at Shireland Collegiate Academy, said: “Wilfred Webster’s visit was an absolute delight for our school community. His infectious energy and heartfelt advice left a lasting impression, reminding us to embrace every opportunity with enthusiasm and determination.

“His message of resilience and perseverance resonated deeply with our students, reinforcing the importance of pursuing their aspirations fearlessly in paving the way for a successful and happy future. We are very grateful for the guidance he shared with us.”

The Academy also proudly announced the launch of its highly anticipated L4L podcast series, an innovative initiative aimed at enriching student learning and fostering community engagement.

Led by a dedicated group of year 7 and 8 students, the Academy’s ‘L4L Podcast Club’ have diligently curated a library of audio clips, interviews, student showcases, and explanations of key concepts and themes prevalent to the school’s Literacy for Life curriculum.

Although previously exclusive to Academy students, the series’ much-anticipated launch opens the podcast to a wider audience, marking a significant milestone in its development.

Centred around the theme of ‘Citizen Me’, the debut episode serves as a platform for students to explore their roles in British society, the importance of law, democracy, and celebrating the diverse nature of the community. It also provides young people with the opportunity to engage with pressing local issues.

A highlight of the episode featured an exclusive interview with local MP John Spellar, who shared his insights on the role of politics in society and emphasised the importance of community engagement. The Academy’s podcast club students demonstrated high standards of preparation and interviewing skills as they recorded and conducted the episode.

Moreover, students from the school seized the opportunity to pose questions to Mr Spellar, allowing them the valuable opportunity to have their voices heard by an experienced politician.

The episode culminated in a spirited debate featuring members of the Academy’s Debate Mate team engaging with Mr Spellar on the proposition of integrating politics into secondary education as a compulsory subject.

The impassioned and articulate exchange between students and a seasoned political figure was inspiring, showcasing the Academy’s commitment to fostering critical thinking and civic responsibility amongst its students.

Ahead of the podcast’s next episode, Shireland Collegiate Academy warmly welcomes and invites listeners to tune in. Access the podcast and its latest episode, ‘Citizen Me’.

Founder of Smile Education Katy Rees Inspires Secondary Students

Thorns Collegiate Academy welcomed Katy Rees, Founder and Managing Director of education recruitment agency, Smile Education, in celebration of International Women’s Day and National Careers Week.

The guest speaker session provided students with invaluable insights into the world of entrepreneurship and career development.

During the session, Rees shared the lessons and insights gained throughout her personal journey. Beginning with her experiences in education and getting into university, Rees then turned to starting her career in IT before venturing into entrepreneurship and establishing her own company.

From humble beginnings to driving the helm of her own business, Rees’s story deeply resonated with students, which served as a testament to the power of perseverance in finding our own path and pursuing it fearlessly.

The highlight of the event was the Q&A session, where students eagerly posed thought-provoking questions to Rees, ranging from career choices and entrepreneurship to discovering future pathways. With candid anecdotes and practical advice, Rees left no stone unturned in her answers.

Katy Rees, Founder of Smile Education, said: “International women’s day is such an important time to recognise women who inspire us and celebrate their many achievements.

“It was my pleasure to share my story and those of women I find motivational with students at Thorns Collegiate Academy, I particularly enjoyed the very insightful questions the students had for me!”

At the session’s conclusion, students left feeling empowered and motivated, equipped with the newfound knowledge and determination to chart their own paths.

Rees’s visit not only marked a wonderful occasion for Thorn Collegiate Academy in celebrating careers and inspirational women in the professional landscape. It also marked the Academy’s commitment to nurturing the future leaders and changemakers of society.

Academy with ‘High Aspirations’ Earns Glowing Ofsted Review

West Bromwich Collegiate Academy proudly announces its rating of good with outstanding features by Ofsted. This significant milestone follows the Academy’s eagerly awaited first Ofsted inspection, since the school opened in 2019.

The report has recognised the Academies strengths, stating ‘the school has set very high expectations for pupils’ future academic achievements and their development. Staff relentlessly focus on helping pupils to meet these high standards.’ The Academy has also been awarded outstanding ratings for the categories of behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and leadership and management.

Student behaviour is described as ‘exceptional,’ with learners exhibiting ‘highly positive’ attitudes towards their learning. Students feel ‘happy and safe’ and actively participate in a variety of extracurricular activities and leadership opportunities. This is attributed to the school’s ‘exceptionally strong’ emphasis on personal development and fostering a supportive environment.

The school’s curriculum comes in for praise. Described as ‘highly ambitious’ and ‘innovative,’ this is a strong endorsement of the Literacy for Life integrated curriculum the Academy runs in Key Stage 3. Teachers are commended for their clear and ‘precise’ lesson delivery, setting ‘very high’ expectations for student achievement and development.

This commitment extends to the Academy’s ‘high-quality’ support systems, which are effectively implemented to help students achieve their potential, with exceptional support provided to students with special educational needs and disabilities.

This dedication to inclusivity extends to the Academy’s culture of mutual respect and openness, where both students and staff feel valued and supported.

George Faux, Principal at West Bromwich Collegiate Academy, said: “We are proud to receive such a glowing endorsement from Ofsted following our first inspection, which reflects the tireless dedication of our entire school community.

“On behalf of the Academy, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has supported us and been part of our journey, this result belongs to all staff and students that make up our community. This achievement is not just a reflection of our current successes, but a platform for greater things as we remain committed to delivering the highest standard of education for all.”

Trustees and governors are recognised for their exceptional knowledge and support of the school in ‘all aspects’ of provision. Staff also expressed gratitude for the professional development opportunities offered by the Academy. This includes its proactive approach to workload management and staff wellbeing, which are identified as a notable strength.

Sir Mark Grundy, CEO of Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust, said: “We are immensely proud of West Bromwich Collegiate Academy’s achievements following Ofsted, which is a true testament to the dedication, perseverance, and collaborative spirit within the school community.

“This is a school that truly embodies our Trust’s pursuit of excellence and dedication to continuously innovate to provide young people with an exceptional education and champions the care of staff. We are proud to support West Bromwich Collegiate Academy in its pursuit of excellence.”

The school, on Kelvin Way, has 803 students on roll.

Academy Showcases at Connexions Sandwell’s New Year, New Start Careers Fair

Shireland Biomedical UTC had an exciting weekend at the Connexions Sandwell New, Year, New Start Careers Fair, where they showcased opportunities available for prospective Sixth Form students starting in September 2024.

Held at the West Bromwich Albion Football Club, the event boasted an impressive turnout, offering a prime platform for students and families to discover more about Shireland Biomedical UTC and the post-16 pathways available to them.

Throughout the fair, the Shireland Biomedical UTC team had the pleasure of meeting with numerous families, engaging in insightful conversations and providing tailored advice to young people around academic pathways, career aspirations and the unique prospects awaiting students at the Academy’s Sixth Form.

This included their unique collaborations and partnerships, such as with Birmingham City University, who provide students at the Academy with specialist mentoring, taster days and lectures aimed at enhancing learning.

The Academy expressed its enthusiasm at seeing so many people ready and waiting to begin the next stage of their educational journeys, making the event truly inspiring and memorable.

Learn more about our Sixth Form.

His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh Formally Opens Shireland CBSO Academy in Special Ceremony

Shireland CBSO Academy in West Bromwich was honoured to welcome The Duke of Edinburgh to officiate the formal opening of the school, which welcomed its first cohort of year 7 students in September 2023.

There was an air of excitement as students, flags waving in hand, eagerly lined up in reception to greet The Duke of Edinburgh upon his arrival at the Academy.

The event not only marks the school’s official opening but also its unique status as the first free, non-selective state school in Britain established in partnership with a national orchestra, serving Sandwell and the wider West Midlands in collaboration with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO).

Joining in with the celebrations on the day were guests including the Deputy Lieutenant for the West Midlands and the Mayor of Sandwell, along with key stakeholders involved in the school’s development.

The Duke of Edinburgh, a patron of the CBSO, met school staff, students, and representatives from Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust and the CBSO, before being given a guided tour of the Academy and its facilities.

During his visit, The Duke of Edinburgh participated in lessons and practical music workshops alongside students, which included practising West African drumming. He also visited the 300-seat performance hall with state-of-the-art acoustics, the specialist music practice rooms and an immersive virtual reality learning space.

Sir Mark Grundy, CEO of Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust, said: “This was a wonderful opportunity to talk about our unique school curriculum with The Duke of Edinburgh and witness our lessons in action. I’m especially pleased for our founding students, this was a great day that will live long in their memories.

“Shireland CBSO Academy’s opening ceremony marks the realisation of an ambitious vision for education and underscores our commitment to making a real difference in the lives of our young people by providing opportunities that may have previously been out of reach for many.”

The celebrations continued into the performance hall, where musicians from the CBSO and students from the school delivered joint live performances.

The highlight of the event was the unveiling of a commemorative plaque by The Duke of Edinburgh, followed by a special reading of a poem exclusively written by one of Shireland CBSO Academy’s students, Nieve Booty.

The poem, which had been specially printed and framed, was presented as a final parting gift to The Duke of Edinburgh, concluding the ceremony.

Principal of Shireland CBSO Academy, David Green, said: “We were delighted to welcome The Duke of Edinburgh to formally open Shireland CSBO Academy.

“We are proud to be providing our students with an education that not only offers academic and musical excellence but also nurtures their creative and personal growth, instilling a lifelong love of learning and the arts.”

Emma Stenning, Chief Executive at CBSO, said: “We’re delighted that the CBSO’s Patron, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, was able to visit the school and see first-hand some of the experiences the CBSO musicians are providing for students – from masterclasses and mentorship to performances, as well as supporting each young person’s ongoing musical endeavours.”

Spreading Easter Joy with Brandhall Community Hub and Pepper's Pet Rescue

Can you help the Easter bunny deliver a smile this year?

We have had a wonderful opportunity to spread joy and kindness within our community this term and were excited to support and partner with Brandhall Community Hub in their Easter egg donation drive!

Brandhall Community Hub works tirelessly to support families in need, offering vital assistance through their food pantry and clothing projects. This year, they aim to bring a little extra joy to families by gifting them with Easter eggs.

We have been thrilled and overwhelmed by the generosity and support shown by our children and families. A huge thank you to everyone for your donations, which will be delivered to Brandhall Community Hub.

In addition to our Easer egg donation drive, we have been focusing on instilling values of kindness and empathy in our young learners. Our children have had the wonderful opportunity to interact with a variety of animals, courtesy of Pepper’s Pet rescue. From snakes and tortoises to cats and ferrets, our children have not only learned to appreciate nature but also how to care for our furry friends.

One furry friend in particular captured our hearts – Derek the three-legged cat. Despite his previous injuries, Derek radiated warmth and captured our children’s curiosity following his story, asking questions about his condition and how often he needs medical attention for his leg.

Following the charity’s visit, the children have also planned a sponsored walk to raise funds to help support with vet bills and essential supplies, ensuring that animals like Derek get the care they need. We have even had one of our pupils embark on their own donation venture, collecting funds for the charity around Smethwick.

We couldn’t be prouder of our children here at First Steps for their generosity, compassion and initiative this term. A huge thank you to everyone who has been supporting and contributing to our community projects.

Read more about Pepper’s Pet Rescue.

As part of our Parent Partnership initiative at First Steps, we also hosted a Mother’s Day brunch with the children, which was a resounding success. Filled with much love and laughter, our families came together to celebrate the special occasion, engaging in some fun craft activities and creating some cherished moments.