BACK TO SCHOOL: Queensbury school celebrates the life and history of Martin Luther King

Queensbury school celebrated the life and history of Martin Luther King on the 15 January 2024.

Students investigated this inspirational leader who was one of the most prominent leaders in in the civil rights movement.

Students researched Martin Luther King then presented their findings in a range of creative outcomes including newspaper articles, posters, performances, and more, even making his favourite drink – lemonade – with a Martin Luther King inspired logo design.

Students shared their hard work and the entries were judged with prizes awarded in assembly donated by the Parent Teacher Association (PTA).

For more on Queensbury School visit www.queensburysch.com

For more on Impact Education Academy Trust visit www.educationimpact.org.uk

BACK TO SCHOOL: Shaping the future of Maths at Queensbury School

Words & pics by supplied by Queensbury School

Queensbury School’s Maths department has been selected as the only West Midlands based special school to be part of an exciting research project on misconceptions in Maths – helping shape future development and understanding of the subject.

Recognised learning resource Eedi has received a prestigious research grant to help them dive deep into the interconnected nature of children’s misconceptions in mathematics and determine the best way to help support students in resolving them. Specifically, the grant is to help support Key Stage 3 students from low-income families who often underperform in mathematics relative to their more affluent peers.

In return, Queensbury has been given free access to the premium version of Eedi for 25 of our students (worth around £2000) – including free access to online, on-demand, personalised support from UK maths teachers every day from 9am to 8pm to help their learning.

Queensbury teachers set diagnostic questions on a weekly basis and students are then asked for the reasons for their answers, which is further collated and analysed.

Students receive immediate feedback on their correct or incorrect answers.

Mr Mustamer Shah, Head of Maths Department, told: ““We are proud to be part of this research. A lot of hard work has been put in to getting Queensbury onto this research project. It has been encouraging to see parents/carers take a leading role too.”

The feedback from students and parents has also been positive, with many happy their young person will help deepen the understanding of misconceptions in Maths for other students across the UK.

Queensbury Student Jaidan explained: “It was good because it was like a digital teacher and it helps you with getting things right.

“If you make a mistake it helps you correct it straight away so you can answer it in the future.”

Celebrating the ambition and achievements of both the school and the student, Queensbury Executive Head Teacher, Mr Chris Wilson, added: “I am so proud of our students and Maths Department setting new boundaries in special educational needs challenge.

“It demonstrates the high aspirations we have for our families and students at Queensbury School.”

For more on Queensbury School visit www.queensburysch.com

To learn more about Eedi visit www.eedi.com

BACK TO SCHOOL: ‘Ambitious’ Stockland Green School impresses Ofsted inspectors with ‘tenacious’ approach to safeguarding

Words & pics supplied by Stockland Green School

Staff and students at Stockland Green are celebrating after inspectors praised the school as a place where “leaders care deeply about pupils’ well-being”.

Ofsted inspectors, who visited the site in Slade Road, Erdington, on 14-15 February, confirmed that Stockland Green School remains a ‘good’ school, and praised it for its “family approach”.

They also praised safeguarding and wellbeing measures at the school, which is part of the respected Arthur Terry Learning Partnership.

Head of School Rebecca Goode said: “We were delighted with this Ofsted report, as we really saw the inspection as an opportunity to showcase our school, to show the inspectors the very best of our team and our students, and help them understand the journey we are on as a school.

“The report talks about us as a ‘family’, and how we really care for our children and about our safeguarding work being ‘tenacious’ – because we are very driven as a team to ensure that our children get the very best in all aspects of education.

“However, it’s not just about grades and results – it’s about ensuring that we give the very best to our young people.

“We always want to ensure that the children have the belief to be whatever they want to be, and that ultimately they become fully rounded citizens who are going to contribute positively to the community.”

According to the Ofsted report, pupils at Stockland Green are happy, and say that they feel safe.

It said: “This is because leaders care deeply about pupils’ well-being and they make sure that staff know pupils well.

“When bullying occurs, pupils say that teachers help resolve the issue quickly and make sure that it does not happen again. Leaders have ensured that the school’s values of ‘aspire, believe and achieve’ are shared by all staff. This has created an environment where there are high expectations about how and what pupils will learn.”

Inspectors said the school’s leaders actively promote pupils’ wider personal development.

It said: “Well-being weeks linked to lessons provide a range of valuable experiences that help make learning real. Most pupils take part in extra-curricular clubs or activities.”

The school was also praised for creating an ambitious curriculum for all pupils, including those with Special Educational Needs.

It said: “Teachers have secure subject knowledge, and they know their pupils well. They create purposeful learning environments for all pupils, including those with SEND. Teachers also use a range of routines to help pupils learn.”

On safeguarding, the report said staff were motivated to prioritise wellbeing.

It said: “Staff morale is high, and they are proud of the role they play in pupils’ education. Leaders make sure that safeguarding is of the highest priority for staff.

“They provide regular training and updates. Staff are vigilant, and quick to report any concerns they have. Leaders are tenacious, and they follow up all concerns raised.”

Headteacher Marie George said: “I’m delighted for Mrs Goode, her team, the students and the community that Stockland Green has been recognised in this way.

“It’s a great achievement, especially when you consider the impacts of the pandemic, which were compounded in our own community, around Stockland Green.

“The school’s response has been to make sure that our children have a safe place to come to, that they are loved and cared for, and get an ambitious curriculum, which was also recognised by the inspectors.

“By taking that caring, ambitious approach, we give our children real life chances, to ensure that they are equipped to go on and meet the demands of the world around them.”

For more on Stockland Green School visit www.stockgrn.bham.sch.uk

**If your school would like to be part of Erdington Local’s BACK TO SCHOOL pages then please email edking@erdingtonlocal.com – with the name of your school in the subject box.**

BACK TO SCHOOL: Students at Queensbury School learn how to stay safe online – as part of Safer Internet Day 2023

Words & pics supplied by Queensbury School

Last week, students at Queensbury School had been learning about internet safety. In celebration of Safer Internet Day 2023, students were discussing how to stay safe online.

The day began with form activities and quizzes, in preparation for workshops with PC Duncan.

Class 7N were the first to have their workshop with PC Duncan where they spoke about some of the legal ramifications of online actions. PC Duncan also gave real-world examples of how poor internet safety can affect people and families.

Throughout the week there had been lots of conversations about internet safety.

This is in line with this year Safer Internet Day theme of ‘Want to talk about it? Making space for conversations about life online’.

Queensbury School’s internet safety week was a great success, teaching the children valuable lessons on how to stay safe online.

After a special day and workshops with individual classes, children across the school felt that they improved their knowledge of Internet Safety.

Jessie & Friends: The funny tummy song

For more on Queensbury School visit www.queensburysch.com

To learn more about how to help children and young people stay safe online visit www.saferinternet.org.uk

BACK TO SCHOOL: Erdington MP declares Stockland Green School at the ‘heart of its community’ during special visit

Words by Gary Phelps / Pics supplied by Stockland Green School

Erdington’s MP has declared Stockland Green School at the “heart of its community” after a special visit to meet students and look around the site.

Paulette Hamilton went to the Slade Road school, which is part of the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership, on Friday, 27 January, and was given a tour of the facilities, popping into lessons along the way to speak to pupils and staff.

The Member of Parliament also listened in on a hard-hitting presentation by reformed criminal Gary Williams, of the Precious Lives project, which warned of the dangers of crime and knives.

Finally, she sat down in the school library to be grilled by Stockland Green’s student leaders, who asked her about life as an MP, her background as a nurse, her family, and the importance of education.

They also told her about their work for Red Hand Day on 12 February, which is part of an international campaign against the use of Child Soldiers.

Mrs Hamilton said: “It has been a fascinating visit to Stockland Green – the thing that struck me as I was shown around was just how quiet the school was, how well behaved the children are, and how they seemed to be absorbing the information they were being taught in the classrooms.

“I also thought the presentation by Precious Lives was absolutely brilliant. Gary, the young man who was speaking, just held the attention of the whole room – because he was clear, concise and passionate, and I really think the students could identify with what he was saying.

“He had a very important message, and I think it’s great the school invited him to speak.”

Mrs Hamilton said she had been impressed by the student leadership team too.

She added: “I thought the student leaders were fantastic. Their questions were well thought-out, they presented themselves well and the subjects they asked me about were quite hard-hitting, so I couldn’t just give a one word answer.

“I’m hoping that through my answers they’ve got to know a little more about me, and the work of an MP.”

The MP also praised the school for its efforts to connect with the community it serves.

Mrs Hamilton told: “I’ve lived here for 35 years and so I know the area and its people well, and the incredible sense of community there is here.

“I think Stockland Green School is a perfect example of that community spirit, because the school doesn’t just care about what happens inside the classrooms, it cares about what happens in the children’s homes too.

“It’s a school that’s right at the heart of the community, and I saw that during my visit.”

Stockland Green Head of School, Rebecca Goode, said: “We were so grateful to Paulette Hamilton for making time in her busy schedule to come in and meet our students and see what goes on in our school.

“She was really interested to find out more about how we reach out to the community, and impressed by the Precious Lives presentation that was also happening when she visited.

“The students leadership team also really enjoyed getting to spend time with her and ask her questions. They even got her autograph at the end.

“Our school is about supporting our children to be safe and to make positive life choices, to be active members of their community and contribute positively when they are adults.

“Visits like this are really valuable in helping the students understand that they are part of a broader community, as well as showing them what they can achieve if they work hard.”

For more on Stockland Green School visit www.stockgrn.bham.sch.uk

BACK TO SCHOOL: Children at Abbey Primary ‘Fill the Skies with Hope’ and send a messge to PM Liz Truss over UK refugee policies

Words by Ed King / Pics by Ed King & Abbey Catholic Primary School

“If there is a refugee, we are all going to welcome him or her in our school – because we support refugees and we want more refugees to join our safe and caring and loving country.”

On Friday 23 September, children at Abbey Catholic Primary School in Erdington took part in a nationwide campaign to ‘Fill the Skies with Hope’ and send a message to the newly appointed Prime Minister, Liz Truss, over the UK’s policies on refugees.

The whole school engaged in the special event, making orange paper aeroplanes carrying messages of support and solidarity and sending them into the skies at the same time.

Led by Abbey Principal, Mr McTernan, all children and classes gathered together in the school playground at 2:30pm – launching 420 paper aeroplanes in unison to show the school’s support for refugees and displaced people.

The ‘Fill the Skies with Hope’ campaign – coordinated by the national coalition Together with Refugees – saw schools, community groups, and local organisations across the country make their own paper aeroplanes and launch them in a ‘Day of Action’ on Friday 23 September.

Together with Refugees organised the ‘Fill the Skies with Hope’ campaign to directly challenge the British Government about the colloquially called Rwanda Plan, where people identified by the UK as illegal immigrants or asylum seekers are relocated to Rwanda.

The Rwanda Plan was signed into law by the then Home Secretary Priti Patel, and Rwandan foreign minister Vincent Biruta on 13 April 2022 – with the current Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, now overseeing the scheme.

Together with Refugees was founded by Asylum Matters, British Red Cross, Freedom from Torture, Rainbow Migration, Refugee Action, Refugee Council, and Scottish Refugee Council.

Abbey Catholic Primary School is part of the Birmingham School of Sanctuary Network, committed to ‘promoting welcome, inclusion and awareness of the problems faced by people seeking sanctuary.’ – with the school’s curriculum embracing the issues around refugees and displaced people.

Ahead of the paper aeroplane launch, children from Year 4 had been involved in lessons and learning around refugees all day – including reading Kate Milner’s illustrated children’s book, My Name is Not Refugee.

“It (My Name is Not Refugee) was about a boy who had to flee his country because of war and his mum was saying they will call you refugee,” explained Henry Bradington (4LD).

“At the start we learned what our names mean, so we could not call refugees refugees, but to call them by their name,” told Benedict Abraham (4LD). “I learnt not to label people but to call them by their own names,” added Ava White (4CC)

“We also learnt how people in India, 5 million people, had to flee because of natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and droughts,” told Victoria Gabriella (4LD).

Year 4 Teacher and Year 3/4 Pastoral Lead, Miss Doyle, added: “We’re a school of sanctuary and they’ve (the children) have been immersed in that entire journey.

“I think it’s so important in this multicultural society not only do they understand refugees and their position, but that they are embracing it and they are welcoming… that they don’t have those stereotypes and are not afraid of it.”

Children at Abbey Catholic Primary ‘Fill the Skies with Hope’ – Friday 23 September

For more on Abbey Catholic Primary School visit www.abbeyrc.bham.sch.uk

For more on Together with Refugees visit www.togetherwithrefugees.org.uk

BACK TO SCHOOL: Abbey Primary School collect bikes for local refugees and displaced people

Words and pics from Abbey Primary School

In an effort to support local refugees, Abbey Primary School are getting involved in ‘The Bike Project’ – to help displaced people coming to Birmingham with travel around the city.

‘The Bike Project’ takes second hand bikes in any condition, fixes them, and donates them to refugees and asylum seekers in Birmingham and London. According to their website, over 9,600 bikes have been donated so far.

Children at The Abbey have been learning about the plight of displaced people around the world and are reaching out to the local community to help them help others through ‘The Bike Project’.

Rebecca Lonergan, a teacher at Abbey Primary School, said: “We are very proud to be a School of Sanctuary and are always looking for new ways we can help support and show solidarity with refugees.

“We have been lucky to meet lots of people with first hand, lived experience of the asylum process and learn about the many issues they face, so when our Year 6 children heard about the charity ‘The Bike Project’ we knew straight away that this was something we wanted to support.

“Life for refugees in the UK can be very hard. Having to learn a new language and culture far from family and friends after fleeing for safety can lead to mental health issues. Alongside this, having to live on less than £6 a day whilst not having the right to work leads to further struggles and isolation.

“The gift of a bike provides free travel, a chance to meet new people and become part of a community, and boosts physical and mental health.”

The Abbey will be opening its doors all day on Friday 17 June, asking anyone with a bike to donate to drop it off at the school.

Rebecca added: “We are aiming to collect 50 bikes and we need our generous local community to help! Year 6 children at The Abbey will be hosting a pop-up donation point on Friday 17 June, from 8:30am to 3pm.

“We will be taking donations of any old bikes – they do not need to be in working order.  Bikes can be any size (including children’s bikes)”.

If you can donate a bike to The Abbey, as part of ‘The Bike Project’, they can be dropped during the day on Friday 17 June at: Abbey Catholic Primary School, Sutton Road, Erdington, B23 6QL

If you have any queries or would like to drop a bike at a different time, please contact r.lonergan@abbeyrc.bham.sch.uk

BACK TO SCHOOL: St Barnabas Primary School receives Bishop of Birmingham Award

Words by Ed King / Pics by Ed King and St Barnabas Primary School

Erdington’s St Barnabas Church of England Primary recently received a Bishop of Birmingham Award, one of only three schools across the diocese to achieve the accolade.

Bishop David Urquhart, the longest serving bishop in the Church of England, presented the award during a special visit to the Spring Lane school last month.

Having been notified about winning the award in March 2022, the school staff and children had waited months to welcome the bishop – who brought a special trophy to recognise the school’s commitment to Christian values.

In an official citation sent to St Barnabas, Bishop Urquhart commended how Christian ‘values are illustrated and lived out by all in the school’ and how the children there can ‘use them to reflect upon their lives.’

Arriving in time for morning assembly, the bishop was met by St Barnabas’s Values and Ethos Committee, made up of children from across the school year groups.

Visibly excited and curious to meet the bishop, the children engaged with the senior clergyman and talked about the school theme of the week, ‘honesty’ – and how Fridays were ‘peace and quiet’ days at St Barnabas.

Bishop Urquart was patient and unpatronising with all the children, looking through the book pf reflections and talking to them about their individual beliefs, faiths, and the school’s core principles and values, before heading into the main school hall for a special assembly.

Hosted by Reverend Emma Sykes from St Barnabas Church, the assembly began with singing ‘Oh Happy Day’ before members of the Values and Ethos Committee told Bishop Urquhart the lessons they learned from the Christian parable of the Good Samaritan.

Harvey, Year 5, explained: “Out of all our key Bible stories which help us understand our footprint values, our favourite is the Good Samaritan. I think it teaches a lot about helping people and that everyone can make a difference through their actions.”

Safiyah, Year 3, added: “I think the Good Smartian teaches us to be respectful of others no matter your colour or religion.”

Leo, Year 4, said: “I think the Good Smartian is a good story because it helps people to help other people no matter who they are they don’t have to be our friend.”

Umaiza, Year 6, told Bishop David: “It helps us to understand that no matter who you are you can help people and other people can help you.”

Jeevan, Year 4, believed the parable “is important because it teaches us kindness and all faiths can be united and work together.”

Whilst Molly, Year 4, agreed “because of this story, we include everyone no matter who they are because we want to be like the good Smartian

Bishop Urquhart then told how the Good Samaritan was one of his first and favourite Christian stories, but how similar lessons of bravery and fortitude could be found from in David and Goliath.

The assembly then concluded by singing ‘Lord I Lift You Name On High’, and series Christian, Sikh, and Muslim prayers, alongside a special private prayer delivered by Bishop Urquhart.

After saying goodbye to the school and posing for a group photo with children and staff, Bishop Urquhart was keen to praise the good work and commitment to Christian values from everyone at St Barnabas.

He told Erdington Local: “The Bishop of Birmingham Award is for particular focus on Christian values and ethos in a school, and St Barnabas has integrated their values into the ordinary life of the school.

“They’re not just a ‘tick box’ – they’re really being lived and discussed and practiced by the children and staff, both at school and at home.

“And the welcome I’ve had this morning from the Values and Ethos Committee, which is made up of the children, has been really remarkable. They’re able to talk about the difficulties and realities of being honest as one of the important bits of our relationship together.

“Faith is caught rather than taught, and children have a rather wonderful way of inquiring into the really big questions: why are we here, who is God, how do we pray, does it matter…? They also look at adults to see if the things that adults say are being put into practice, so in that sense they bring an openness and honesty.

“And the idea that faith is just an idea is not good enough, it’s actually lived and so that’s what’s happening here – they are practicing, living, and building trust in God and each other and trying to live in a complicated and uncertain world.”

For more on St Barnabas Primary Church of England School visit www.stbarnabas-erdington.com

NEWS: Commonwealth Games 2022 mascot Perry the Bull visits Wilson Stuart School

Words by Jobe Baker Sullivan / Pics supplied by Wilson Stuart School

On 18 May, Wilson Stuart School were lucky enough to be visited by Perry the Bull – the official mascot for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, to be hosted in Birmingham this summer.

Perry was well received by all as he moved around the school meeting and greeting both staff and students.

Perry first visited Bluesky nursery and Primary, dancing, skipping, and giving out ‘hi-fives’ with the students at every given moment before then making his way across school to secondary where he was greeted with yet more cheers and happy faces.

Wilson Stuart School in Perry Common is a special school that caters for 229 pupils aged 2-25 years.

The SEND students fully embraced the experience and were able to get photos with the Commonwealth mascot ahead of the Games. Students further took part in an action packed morning of activities, including a ‘find Perry’ orienteering course, medal design and athlete growth mindset workshops.

The visit from Perry the Bull “helped capture the family, fun and friendly feeling of the games and to get the students geared up to Birmingham hosting the games later this year,” said Tom Elmes, Associate Head of Secondary at Wilson Stuart School.

He added: “There was a real buzz of excitement from the students about our special visitor, it was great to see both staff and students interacting with Perry and the projects that we are part of are now starting to take shape ahead of the games this summer.”

Perry the Bull is a unique mascot for the Commonwealth Games 2022, named after both Perry Barr – where the main bulk of the Games will be held – and the Bull Ring Market.

His appearance is based upon the design of 11-year-old Emma Lou, winner of a national design competition that took place in 2020.

Artist in residence at Wilson Stuart School, Benny Semp, has also been working with students on a wall hanging to act as a legacy piece for the Games.

The Commonwealth Games will take place in venues across Greater Birmingham, the Midlands, and London between 28 July and 8 August.

For more on Wilson Stuart School visit www.wilsonstuart.co.uk

For more on the Commonwealth Games visit www.birmingham2022.com

BACK TO SCHOOL: Celebrating African culture (and staying healthy) with Ivory Coast dance workshops at Kings Rise Academy

Words by Ed KIng / Pics supplied by Kings Rise Academy

Children at Kings Rise Academy have been exploring and celebrating African culture – with two days of dance workshops from Gaspard Zamble, founder and director of the Zamble African Dance Company.

Children from all year groups at the Kingstanding primary school took part in the workshops, which explored a repertoire of the regional dances of the Ivory Coast.

The Ivory Coast (officially the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire) is a country located on the south coast of West Africa, with roots into some 60 distinct ethnic groups and one of the most varied and dynamic traditional dance cultures in West Africa.

Led by Gaspard Zamble, the African dance workshops gave children at Kings Rise a chance to try something they may never had experienced outside of the school – as well as giving them a fun way to exercise and encourage good health.

All ages took part, from the older pupils in Year 6 right down to the youngest children in Kings Rise Academy’s nursery and Early Years groups.

Kings Rise Academy has recently invested over £175,000 in a new nursery and Early Years setting, which will open its doors at the beginning of the new school year in September – offering the children of Kingstanding the best start to their education.

Kings Rise Academy Vice Principal, Gary Byrne, told Erdington Local: “The dance workshops were a lot of fun and a great way for the children to learn about African culture – Gaspard was amazing, and the children really engaged with him.

“The rich culture and history of the Ivory Coast is not something everyone would get the chance to experience, but now our young people have learnt a bit more about the world we live it – inspiring them the look further, explore deeper, and learn even more.

“Plus, as it’s dancing, it’s a healthy alternative to classroom based learning.

“Our children have done so well during lockdown but now we’re back together it’s good for them to work and learn together, in a way the encourages better health.”

Nursery and Reception places are still available at Kings Rise Academy, with open days on Wednesday 7 July and Thursday 8 July – limited places are available for other year groups.

To arrange visits on alternative days, simply contact the school office who will be happy to help – call (0121) 464 4635 or email kraenquiry@kingsrise.org

For more on Kings Rise Academy visit www.kingrise.bham.sch.uk