Foundation Ceremony held to celebrate the school becoming a part of United Learning
Today, Southway Primary School, which became an academy last September, held a special Foundation Day for its pupils, staff and local community to celebrate its transition to academy status and to set out its vision and ambition for the future.
The Foundation Day celebrated the school’s achievements to date and marked the school’s commitment to working with all its stakeholders – pupils, parents, staff, governors, United Learning and the local Bognor Regis community.
The ceremony began with Year 6 pupils Taylor Philips and Ory Warden-Main welcoming the guests which included:
- The Rt Revd and Rt Hon The Lord Carey of Clifton, President of United Learning;
- Cllr Peter Griffiths, Lead Member for Education and Schools, West Sussex County Council;
- Susan Pyper, Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex;
- Andrewjohn Stephenson Clarke, High Sheriff of West Sussex;
- Councillor Eileen Anderson, Town Mayor of Bognor Regis;
- Diane Willson, Chair of Governors.
Principal Matthew Westgarth also welcomed guests and explained why the school had chosen to become an academy and join United Learning. He said:
“Our decision to become an academy and to become a part of United Learning was driven by a need to think differently, to explore new opportunities and test out new ways of working. In its short life, Southway Primary School has come a very long way but we want our school to be the very best it can be. The whole school community is committed to achieving our aim and that of United Learning: to bring out “the best in everyone”.
“Our Foundation Day is a celebration of what we already do well but it also aims to capture our hopes, dreams and aspirations for the future, individually and collectively.”
Mr Westgarth then went on to explain how the Foundation Day would be led by the pupils of Southway Primary School:
“Today the children will take you on a journey that tells the story of life at Southway; how we work, how we live and how we achieve. We aim to showcase the learning that we believe will inspire our children to go on to achieve great things in life.”
During the ceremony, each year group – from Nursery through to Year 6 – gave memorable performances which had been inspired by their lessons. Performances included:
- Poetry readings by Year 2 pupils based on their lessons on Medieval England;
- An African Drumming performance by Year 4 pupils reflecting their lessons about the Amazon;
- A dance by Year 6 pupils inspired by their work on World War Two.
To mark the school’s commitment to working in partnership with all its local stakeholders, representatives of pupils, parents, staff, governors, the local community and United Learning each signed promises in which they committed to support Southway Primary School to become an outstanding school. The signing of the promises was accompanied by the Southway School Choir.
At the end of the ceremony, guests were invited to tour the school and visit lessons to see how learning is brought alive for pupils. Year 1 pupils talked with great enthusiasm about the arrival of a mystery monkey to kick start their ‘Monkey Puzzle’ project. Guests were invited to talk with Year 2 pupils about their experiences as trainee astronauts through their ‘Look Up!’ project – an investigation into outer space. Year 3 pupils, currently investigating ‘Trainers, Tracks and Tyres’ gave a glimpse into their learning about wheeled vehicles, whilst Year 4 pupils shared their extensive knowledge of mountains and caves from their ‘Above and Below’ project. Year 5 pupils, currently studying an ‘Ice Worlds’ project, enthused about the adventures of Ernest Shackleton. At the top end of the school, Year 6 pupils demonstrated the work that they are undertaking on HMS Victory as a part of their ‘Life on Board’ theme.
When the guests returned from the tour, pupils released 21 balloons, one per class, symbolising their hopes and aspirations.
A large number of representatives from United Learning attended the Foundation Day to welcome personally Southway Primary School into its group of over 30 academies and independent schools. United Learning representatives included Edward Gould, Chair of Academies, Jon Coles, Group Chief Executive and David Jones, Principal of The Regis School, which joined United Learning in January 2012 and is located on the same campus as Southway Primary School.
Commenting on the day, Rob Carpenter, Primary Director of United Learning’s primary academies in the South of England, said:
“We are very pleased to have welcomed Southway Primary School into United Learning. Today has been an excellent reflection of how this thriving and vibrant school is an exciting and happy place in which to learn.”