Today Timbertree Academy held a special Launch Day for its pupils and staff to celebrate its transition to academy status and set out its vision for the future.
The Cradley Heath primary school became an academy in June and joined United Learning – a group of academies and independent schools.p>
The day began with pupils participating in workshops which sought to help them consider all the different career options they might want to follow when they are older. The pupils were also given a taster of putting together their CV and completing job applications.; They were each tasked to think about their strengths and interests and present them in a CV-style format.
In the afternoon, an official ceremony was held in which pupils were joined by guests from across the local community to mark the school’s transition to academy status. The ceremony began with Head Teacher Hayley Walker welcoming the pupils, staff and guests. Ms Walker said:
‘Today is about celebrating everything that has already been achieved at Timbertree Academy and recognising the school’s enormous potential for reaching even greater heights. As this morning’s careers and job workshops showed, our pupils are hugely ambitious for their future and we will do everything we can to nurture our pupils and help them achieve their dreams.
‘Our Launch Day marks a new chapter in the life of Timbertree. The school has undergone a tremendous journey over the past five years and we are now aiming to turn our “good” school into an “outstanding” one. We know how challenging this journey is but, with the effort and commitment of everyone at the school, we are determined to ensure we are able to achieve it.
‘Our partnership with United Learning will be a key part in our development, providing us with the opportunity to share our learning with schools across the country, developing and refining as we go.
‘We remain a local school for local children and, as we celebrate how much we have achieved, I would like to thank all the members of the local community who contribute so much to Timbertree Academy.’
Pupil representatives from each Year group then spoke about their aspirations for the future. Speaking about what she hopes to be doing in five years, Year 6 pupil Sian James, said:
‘In five years’ time, I will be in Year 11 and working hard for my GCSEs. New subjects will have been learnt and new skills mastered. We will be looking forward to the next five years – possibly apprenticeships and university. Who knows? The world is there to conquer.’
Following this, guests were treated to fantastic musical performances by the Timbertree Band and Choir as well as a reading of Sonja Eliason’s poem ‘When I grow up’ by Year 6 pupil Shaniya Smith.
United Learning’s Group Chief Executive, Jon Coles, then spoke about the Group’s aspirations for the academy. He said:
'We were excited to welcome Timbertree Academy into our Group earlier this year. Anyone walking into the school can see immediately the determination of pupils and staff to be the very best they can be. We are delighted to be working alongside the school and look forward to supporting pupils and staff as the school continues to go from strength to strength.'
Towards the end of the ceremony, the school put the finishing touches to the iron sculpture which it had specially commissioned to mark its Launch Day. The iron sculpture, which had been created by local sculptor Luke Perry, is in the shape of a tree and includes leaves inscribed with the signatures of every pupil and member of staff. During the ceremony local councillor Anne Shackleton and United Learning Group Chief Executive Jon Coles were invited to add their own signatures to leaves for the tree. Plenty of space has been left around the tree for future classes of Timbertree Academy to add their own contributions.