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Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Bright Future for Shirehampton's new academy!

Today Carrie and David Grant, of Fame Academy - er, fame - helped open the new Brightstowe Academy, sponsored by The Oasis Trust.

For anyone who hasn't been following the progress - Brightstowe is the new Academy that has replaced Portway School. There was an incredible sense of optimism which pervaded the entire event. But as the Steve Chalke, who runs The Oasis Trust, pointed out - dreams and optimism are not enough. You need determination and action to turn your dream to a reality.

And if reports from the parents and pupils I have spoken to are anything to go by, that action has already started. I sat next to parents of a boy in year 8 during the presentations, and they commented on how the new system of dividing the school into houses was working to unite the school in healthy competition.

I also spoke to Courtney, who was celebrating her 13th birthday and guided me round the new school. She told me how the place simply felt different, and what a difference having classroooms of new, fast computers and a good science lab makes. But, as you can hear from Carrie and David, it's not simply a question of throwing money at the place. It's about inspiring each one of the pupils to achieve their best.

And the school is immensely lucky to have Julie Winterman continuing as head teacher - providing an invaluable sense of stability and experience.

Over the past years, Shirehampton has been stripped of so many of its facilities. It was heartening to see such drive and determination to succeed focussed on Shire and Avonmouth. At end of the event, we all went outside to let fly hundreds of biodegradable balloons into the sky - and I think all of us were hoping for a soaringly successful future for Brightstowe. With a team like that in place, ready to work hard to thrive, there is every sign that the new academy really will fly high.


Northern Lights said...

Glad to see the Conservatives are supporting investment in schools. What's their view on BSF? Will the Conservatives match Labour's funding?

Northern Lights said...

Just wondering whether the comment I made is going to be posted? Just out of interest.

Charlotte Leslie said...

Hi Northern Lights - sorry about that delay in response!
Conservatives will indeed match BSF funding. Investment in schools is vital. The point here is that funding is important but not everything. I would personally rather my child educated in a garden shed by superb teachers in an environment which leads the pupils to work hard and believe in themselves, than a state-of-the-art school with no discipline and a demoralised work-force. On that note, it is also worth noting that the number of regulations governing what a school building should be like are absurd - we also think that more buildings should be allowed to be used as schools - as they are in America - so long as they pass proper safety and hygiene standards.