BACK TO SCHOOL Queensbury School wins Modeshift STARS National SEND School of the Year

Words and pics by supplied by Queensbury School

Gravelly Hill SEND secondary school and sixth form, Queensbury School, has won the Modeshift STARS National SEND School of the year 2023-2024.

Situated on Wood End Road, Queensbury School provides education and support for 11-19 years old with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

After winning the regional award earlier this year, three Queensbury students travelled to London with Head Teacher Mr Wilson and Transport Manager Mrs Richards to represent the West Midlands in the national awards.

Acting as ‘Travel Ambassadors’, the students helped plan the journey to and from the capital city.

Queensbury Head Teacher, Mr Wilson, said: “Our students not only got us to London but also presented incredibly well, melting the hearts of the audience in a packed hall at Hamiliton House. They represented the school so impeccably it was a true pleasure to go with them.

“They presented on stage to a huge national school audience on all the projects we have run in school like Bikeability and the Clean Air Zone project.

“The judges must have been impressed because we WON the nationals! Queensbury School is the Modeshift STARS National SEND School of the year 2023-2024.”

Mr Wilson added:  “Special thanks to Mrs Richards and all the staff that have been involved not just this year but over previous years with Bikeability and increasing independence.

“The is an example of Queensbury going from a ‘good school’ to a ‘great school’ and we look forward to many more to come.”

For more Queensbury School visit www.queensburysch.com

Queensbury School is part of the Erdington Local BACK TO SCHOOL programme, working together to celebrate school life from staffroom to classroom.

To find out more about going BACK TO SCHOOL with Erdington Local please email: [email protected]

BACK TO SCHOOL: Ancient Greek Day at Kings Rise Academy

Words and pics supplied by KRA Editorial Team

This half term, Year 4 have been exploring the topic of Ancient Greece throughout their lessons and on Wednesday 8 May, they spent the whole day learning all about Ancient Greece through lots of fun activities and games.

They came into school (along with the teachers) dressed as Gods and Goddesses and ate traditional Greek food like olives and yoghurt. The children and staff had the best day and learnt so much along the way.

Throughout the day, the children learnt all about myths and legends, popular food and clothing and even had a go at learning some Ancient Greek writing themselves!

Luke (year 4) said “he loved learning about the Olympics and statues” and Kree (year 4) said “I would really like to have more days like this, it has been the best”.

We spoke with Mrs Hagans (Year 4 Teacher) and she said: “The children had such a fun day learning all about the Ancient Greeks, it was a great success and we hope to do another one soon!”

After speaking with the children and staff, it’s clear that the day was a huge success and Kings Rise Academy as always has a busy schedule with lots more amazing days to look forward to!

For more on Kings Rise Academy visit www.kingsrise.org

Kings Rise Editorial Team: Sienna Mills (Y5), Zaneta Onojah (Y5), Liyana Walters (Y5), Riley Mortiboys (Y5), Hiba Ahmed (Y4), Ehichoya Jason Obor (Y5).

Kings Rise Academy is part of the Erdington Local BACK TO SCHOOL programme, working together to celebrate school life from staffroom to classroom.

To find out more about going BACK TO SCHOOL with Erdington Local please email: [email protected]

BACK TO SCHOOL: Kingsthorne Primary School’s Year 6 visit Outward Bound Centre at Aberdovey

Words by Neveah in Y6 / Pics supplied by Kingsthorne Primary School

15 – 19 April were the dates of the first ever Kingsthorne Y6, four night residential to the Outward Bound Centre at Aberdovey.

The 41 children and six staff that went were truly pioneers. We all had an unforgettable experience and a great time.

The views of the estuary and beyond were gorgeous, particularly when it was sunny. We saw lots of nature too including cows, crabs, and jellyfish!

During our time at Aberdovey we conquered many fears and completed lots of fun activities. Some of the activities that we did consisted of abseiling, gorge walking, jetty jumping, and the jog and dip.

Two of my favourite activities were the jetty jump and the gorge walk. Both of these were incredibly fun, even if you did get absolutely soaking.

I learnt a lot on this trip including how to be more resilient and independent. I even learned how to make a duvet – now there is a skill for life!

Many people overcame their fears and made memories that they will never forget.

Kingsthorne Year 6 students at Aberdovey, Wales

For more on Kingsthorne Primary School visit www.kingsthorneprimary.co.uk

Kingsthorne Primary School is part of the Erdington Local BACK TO SCHOOL programme, working together to celebrate school life from staffroom to classroom.

To find out more about going BACK TO SCHOOL with Erdington Local please email: [email protected]

BACK TO SCHOOL: Students from Wilson Stuart and Kingsthorne collaborate on Story Massage Programme

Words and pics supplied by Wilson Stuart School

In a strong display of collaboration and innovation, primary students from Wilson Stuart School have teamed up with Kingsthorne Primary mainstream school to explore the benefits of the Story Massage Programme.

The Story Massage Programme, a unique approach that melds the benefits of positive touch with the creative power of words, has captivated the attention of educators and students alike.

Ten simple massage strokes, each accompanied by a descriptive name and symbol, serve as the cornerstone of this initiative – ensuring accessibility for learners of all ages and abilities.

Rachael Griffiths, Director of Research and Innovation at Wilson Stuart, underscored the multifaceted objectives of the project. “Through the project, we aim to foster active listening, cultivate positive relationships, and forge connections between mainstream and special school settings,” she remarked.

“Moreover, we seek to enhance non-verbal communication skills, refine language proficiency through storytelling, boost confidence levels, and, above all, ensure an environment brimming with joy and laughter.”

This collaborative endeavour not only demonstrates the commitment of both institutions to inclusive practices but also exemplifies the transformative potential of partnership in education.

As students embark on this journey of exploration and discovery, they are not only acquiring valuable skills but also laying the foundation for a more inclusive and empathetic society.

With each stroke and story shared, these young learners are not just engaging in massage; they are weaving a tapestry of understanding, compassion, and friendship that transcends boundaries and enriches lives.

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

Wilson Stuart School is part of the Erdington Local BACK TO SCHOOL programme, working together to celebrate school life from staffroom to classroom.

To find out more about going BACK TO SCHOOL with Erdington Local please email: [email protected]

BACK TO SCHOOL: Hive students take part in trainee teachers conference

Words by Zain Khan, pics supplied by the Hive College

We were asked to take part in a conference for trainee teachers at Wolves Uni on Friday 3 May.

We sent five students to help with the refreshments for the delegates and then five students (including two alumni) were the keynote speakers for the event; sharing their educational journeys and the career aspirations followed by some tips for teachers with students with special educational needs.

The students chose to walk on to stage to ‘When the Going Gets Tough’! They all did fantastically well and were incredibly inspiring to us all. I was so proud to hear back how much they have achieved against so much adversity.

The organiser of the conference commented: “The aim of yesterday was to put good expert staff and talented pupils central to the focus and I really hope that came across.

“As a team, it’s the ethos that we are reinforcing all the time with our trainees and just look to work with people who have the same shared values.

“Good people, doing great work, for pupils who deserve every opportunity in life.”

They added: “EIAT as a trust is an absolute joy to work with. We see a lot of schools and trusts on a yearly basis and we can say, genuinely, that there is a clear connection and shared ethos in the staff we come across within Wilson Stuart, Mayfield, Queensbury, and the Hive.”

For more on The Hive College visit: www.hivecollege.org.uk

The Hive College is part of the Erdington Local BACK TO SCHOOL programme, working together to celebrate school life from staffroom to classroom.

To find out more about going BACK TO SCHOOL please email: [email protected]

BACK TO SCHOOL: Beautiful butterflies released by EYFS pupils at Marsh Hill Primary

Words and pics supplied by Marsh Hill Primary School

This term at Marsh Hill primary school, our EYFS pupils have been learning all about life cycles and nature.

The children have been caring for caterpillars in the classroom, nurturing them and keeping them safe, and have been excited to look after the insects.

The life cycle of the caterpillar will move from the larva stage, growing to be a caterpillar, through to it forming a chrysalis, and then transforming into a beautiful butterfly.

For the past few weeks, the children have been observing the caterpillars and have talked to their friends and staff about how they have changed, especially on how much bigger they got!

Then last week, there was huge excitement when the EYFS pupils spotted the chrysalis shaking – and finally the children were very lucky to see a couple of the butterflies emerge from their chrysalis!

This week the children released the butterflies into the wild. They have had so much fun and look forward to learning more about the wonders of nature.

For more on Marsh Hill Primary School visit www.marshill.bham.sch.uk

Marsh Hill Primary School is part of the Erdington Local BACK TO SCHOOL programme, working together to celebrate school life from staffroom to classroom.

To find out more about going BACK TO SCHOOL with Erdington Local please email: [email protected]

BACK TO SCHOOL: Caligo – a short story by Daniel Selwood

Daniel Selwood is a student at The Hive College who has been involved in our LOCAL AMBASSADORS programme, as well as contributing to our BACK TO SCHOOL pages for his college.

A gifted prose writer and a veracious reader, Erdington Local is proud to help support and develop Daniel’s writing.

She was beautiful. She had long dark hair, a dress of midnight blue, and high heels that added inches onto her already formidable height.

Domnic Darkly felt underdressed, even in his best shirt. He hadn’t combed his hair in weeks and as a result it looked like something left in a spin dryer too long. His glasses were round, and he was becoming more and more aware of how dirty they were.

“Domnic?” she asked. Her accent was unplaceable, like every voice in the world stewed up and served.

“Yes,” said Domnic, in his West Country drawl, marred and bitten at for living in Birmingham for so long.

She stepped back. Domnic stepped in. The hall smelt familiar – like childhoods and happiness. As Domnic admired the collection of leather-bound books, her soft but strong hands grabbed his cheekbones with their death-pale fingers.

“You look just like your photos, darling, like a tough ‘n’ teak mountain man…” she whispered, and ran her tongue like a red slug over her purple lips.

“You didn’t send any pictures,” said Domnic, nervous then calm. “And I don’t know why – because you’re…” his eyes lingered on her chest, “you’re beautiful…”

“Thank you, my liebchen,” she said, and walked like a film star into her cavernous kitchen. “Would you like water, or wine?” she asked.

“Erm, water,” said Domnic. Stone statues of unrecognised Greek gods were visible through the kitchen window – dressed in real cowls. He thought he recognised some of them from a news report, something to do with back packers who were acting stupid and vanished.

“Erm, Caligo?” he asked – her name, an unusual name, one that sounded like a wine. “Where did you say you were from, again, sorry?”

She winced, then slid back into herself. “All o’fer, really mois fleur,” she said. “I, er, ‘ow-dja-say, treaded the boards…”

“You were an actress?” asked Domnic.

Water thundered into a glass. Caligo looked at him, “Pardon? Oh yes – actress, yes…” She put the glass of water into Domnic’s hand, and whilst he wasn’t looking mixed a fine line of powder into his drink.

“You look good for fifty,” said Domnic, feeling more assured. He was forty-five and obvious with it; a mix of alcohol in the ‘80s, ciggies and drugs in the ‘90s, and an attempt to settle down in the ‘00s. Caligo was charismatic. Caligo was cool. All he had was the look of a humanised gorilla, a twenty something daughter who ran off to Malaga with her girlfriend, and a wife who set fire to his clothes before chucking him out. The words, “you can stay with Calligraphy or whatever her name is…” echoed round his memories, that, and the smell of charred cotton.

“I have the kiss of life,” she laughed. “Now drink up my love… and we’ll see my garden.” She smiled without out showing teeth.

It was the last thing he remembered.

Domnic woke up outside. Cold. Naked. He couldn’t place where he was or when he’d arrived… just a jump, like a dream. But he’d seen those statues before – the one with chiselled cheekbones, the thin seedy one, the round one, too.

“Nice, isn’t it?” she asked. It was. Wherever it was. He couldn’t remember his name.

“I love this place,” she drooled. “I bought it in 1920…”

“19… but it’s 2024!” cried Domnic.

“Oh, mon chéri. I have long life. I am – er, ‘ow you say it? Vampire,” cackled Caligo, as Domnic placed his hand over his neck.

Caligo looked at him and laughed so hard a dog barked a few streets away, then went quiet. “I don’t suck blood, I kiss… and drain the life from my darling, wunderbar boyfriends.”

She leaned in and placed her lips firmly on his. It felt dangerous, yet pleasant. He didn’t fight. Her breath tasted sweet, and rich, like the zest of orange on a dense, dark cake.

Domnic turned to stone. His face was wonderfully wistful. Caligo lifted Domnic and placed him in line. She draped him in a toga before going inside – the sun was rising…

For more on The Hive College visit: www.hivecollege.org.uk

The Hive College is part of the Erdington Local BACK TO SCHOOL programme, working together to celebrate school life from staffroom to classroom.

To find out more about going BACK TO SCHOOL WITH Erdington Local please email: [email protected]

BACK TO SCHOOL: Getting excited by STEM at Queensbury School during British Science Week

Words and pics by supplied by Queensbury School

As part of British Science Week, Queensbury and New Horizons had a STEM day. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and these are all areas where there are skill shortages in the UK. These events encourage students to think about jobs and careers linked to STEM.

At Queensbury, Keyode Lewis came in to do some (very) low temperature demonstrations. Using liquid Nitrogen, Keyode did experiments using flowers, meringues, fruit, and other objects.

The finale was an experiment to see what happened if you mixed a very hot liquid with a very, very cold liquid – with some explosive results. The students were intrigued and fascinated by the demonstration and hopefully one or two will be inspired to follow a science pathway.

Another highlight was when students created self-powered cars using recycled materials. They worked together to design and build cars from items like cardboard and plastic bottles, learning about engineering and sustainability along the way.

Both these experiences sparked their curiosity and passion for science – they learned about engineering principles while building their cars and discovered the transformative power of extreme cold during the liquid nitrogen experiments.

Overall, British Science Week at Queensbury School provided students with an opportunity to explore and learn in a fun and engaging way.

The combination of building self-powered cars and conducting experiments with liquid nitrogen showcased the diverse and exciting aspects of STEM education.

For more Queensbury School visit www.queensburysch.com

Queensbury School is part of the Erdington Local BACK TO SCHOOL programme, working together to celebrate school life from staffroom to classroom.

To find out more about going BACK TO SCHOOL with Erdington Local please email: [email protected]

BACK TO SCHOOL: Exciting new experiences as Marsh Hill children visit Sandwell Valley Riding Centre

Words and pics supplied by Marsh Hill Primary School

At Marsh Hill Primary School, we are passionate about providing as many rich experiences to our pupils as possible.

This term, we are giving every pupil the opportunity to visit Sandwell Valley Riding Centre to experience riding and grooming a pony.

Apart from being a great source of physical activity, pony riding offers a host of psychological benefits. It can boost confidence, improve concentration, and teach responsibility and empathy. It also encourages a connection with nature, helping children appreciate the outdoors.

Our pupils that have visited the centre so far and have had a fantastic time.

They have thoroughly enjoyed the visit and have been extremely excited to share what they have done at the centre with the staff and other pupils in school.

We are very proud of the confidence they have shown with this new experience.

For more on Marsh Hill Primary School visit www.marshill.bham.sch.uk

Marsh Hill Primary School is part of the Erdington Local BACK TO SCHOOL programme, working together to celebrate school life from staffroom to classroom.

To find out more about going BACK TO SCHOOL with Erdington Local please email: [email protected]

BACK TO SCHOOL: ‘The Book Project’ sparks joy of reading at Wilson Stuart EYFS Pathway

Words and pics supplied by Wilson Stuart School

Wilson Stuart EYFS Pathway recently celebrated a literary extravaganza in collaboration with the charitable organisation, ‘The Book Project.’

In a remarkable gesture of generosity, ‘The Book Project’ donated over 500 books to the school, ensuring that each student could select and take home two books, nurturing their reading journeys and fostering a deep-seated love for reading.

The event, held at the EYFS department, was nothing short of magical. Students eagerly perused the diverse selection of books, each one a gateway to new adventures and endless imagination.

Adding to the excitement, students had the opportunity to purchase books using ‘Wilson Stuart cash,’ a unique initiative that empowers students to take ownership of their reading materials.

But the highlight of the event? Meeting the beloved character, the Gruffalo, who stepped out of the pages and into the hearts of the students, bringing their favourite stories to life.

Charlotte Davis, (EYFS Lead), and Kristal Bonner, (Literacy Lead), expressed their gratitude, stating: “Wilson Stuart extends a huge thank you to ‘The Book Project’ for their generous donation. We eagerly anticipate future collaborations to continue nurturing the love of reading among our students.”

This heartwarming partnership exemplifies the power of community and underscores Wilson Stuart’s unwavering commitment to providing enriching educational experiences for all its students.

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

Wilson Stuart School is part of the Erdington Local BACK TO SCHOOL programme, working together to celebrate school life from staffroom to classroom.

To find out more about going BACK TO SCHOOL with Erdington Local please email: [email protected]