Children from ten primary schools across Teesside and County Durham came together recently (7 June) to demonstrate their sporting talents.

Pupils from Ad Astra Academy Trust schools met up for the day-long sports event at Middlesbrough Sports Village where they competed in a range of events including running, long jump, hurdles and distance throwing.

Pete Wiley and Helen Durnion, School Improvement Leads with Ad Astra, helped co-ordinate the event.

Pete Wiley said: “We organise regular collaborative events for our schools and the sports event was a huge success.

“All of the pupils showed their determination to succeed. They gave their all and competed in a very respectful manner.

“One of our primary schools (Ayresome) hold their annual sports day at Middlesbrough Sports Village so we modelled their programme and it worked really well.

“Performing at such a notable regional sporting venue like Middlesbrough Sports Village can only help inspire our pupils to achieve high in their chosen sports.”

Around 150 youngsters aged between 7 and 11 took part in the event and they all received a medal.

A rosette was also awarded to a child from each school who was judged to best reflect the Ad Astra Academy Trust STARS (Support, Togetherness, Achieve, Respect, Success) values.

The ten schools under the umbrella of Ad Astra Academy Trust are Sunnyside and Ayresome in Middlesbrough, Crooksbarn and Rosebrook in Stockton-on-Tees, Barnard Grove, Brougham, West Park and West View in Hartlepool and Deaf Hill and Kelloe in County Durham.

Andy Brown OBE, Chief Executive Officer of Ad Astra Academy Trust, said: “This was a wonderful event, and I would like to thank everyone who contributed to its success.

“As a Trust we encourage our pupils to participate in sport and physical activity as part of our overall approach to promote healthy lifestyles.

“Events like this are also important because they provide an opportunity for our children to meet their counterparts from other schools.”

 

Ad Astra Academy Trust was formed in 2015 and over the last nine years has grown across the Tees Valley, providing education for over 3,500 pupils and 525 employees in Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Hartlepool.

Children from eight primary school across Teesside came together this week (24 January) to demonstrate their creative art talents.

Pupils from Ad Astra Academy Trust schools met up at Sunnyside Academy in Coulby Newham for the day-long event where they made ceramic tiles from clay.

Prior to the event, pupils were tasked with designing their tiles to reflect the principles and values of individual Ad Astra schools.

Helen Craggs, Art Leader at Sunnyside Academy, who helped co-ordinate the event, said: “This is the first time that Ad Astra schools have collaborated on an event like this.

“Sunnyside Academy is the only school within Ad Astra to have its own kiln, so it is an ideal location.

“The event has given children the opportunity to demonstrate their creative talent and all of the ceramic tiles will be displayed at Ad Astra’s Festival of Education later this year.”

The eight schools under the umbrella of Ad Astra are Sunnyside and Ayresome in Middlesbrough, Crooksbarn and Rosebrook in Stockton-on-Tees and Barnard Grove, Brougham, West Park and West View in Hartlepool.

Andy Brown OBE, Chief Executive Officer of Ad Astra Academy Trust, added: “Creative arts features strongly in all of our schools and is an important part of the curriculum.

“All of the children have fully embraced the event. The artwork is of an exceptional standard, and I am very proud of all the pupils who participated.”

Ad Astra Academy Trust was formed in 2015 and over the last nine years has grown across the Tees Valley, providing education for over 3,500 pupils and 525 employees in Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Hartlepool.

Issued by Alastair Rae, on behalf of Ad Astra Academy Trust. For further information, call 07581239557.

25 January 2024

The headteacher of Brougham Primary School has paid tribute to everyone following the fire to the school nursery during the summer holidays.

The nursery and pre-school area suffered significant damage following the fire on 13 August

Sarah Greenan, Headteacher of Brougham Primary School, said: It has certainly been a challenging time for everyone associated with the school, but our jobs have been made much easier thanks to the amazing support we’ve received.

“We are making good progress and our contractors are working closely with the insurers to ensure that the nursery and preschool classrooms are cleared ready for the refurbishment to begin.

“In the meantime, nursery and preschool children will be taught in temporary classrooms which arrived on site recently and are currently in the process of being fitted out ready for our youngest children to return on Monday 18 September.

“Once fitted out, we will be able to start to add furniture and resources to create a stimulating and exciting environment.”

Pupils from Reception to Year 6 return to Brougham on Tuesday 5 September.

Sarah Greenan continued: “We are determined to ensure that this devastating event does not affect our school vision to provide the best education for our pupils to help them to ‘be the best they can be’.

“To do this we will continue to provide a wonderful school curriculum by ensuring that all items and resources lost are replaced. This has been helped by donations from other schools, particularly those in our Trust. The support from the community has also been fantastic and has really helped to raise the spirits of the staff in school.

“We will continue to keep all parents updated on the progress of the refurbishment and we are looking forward to welcoming our youngest pupils back to school.”

Brougham is one of eight primary schools across Teesside under the umbrella of Ad Astra Academy Trust.

The other primary schools within Ad Astra Academy Trust are Barnard Grove, West Park and West View in Hartlepool, Crooksbarn and Rosebrook in Stockton-on-Tees and Ayresome and Sunnyside in Middlesbrough.

 

A Hartlepool primary school is celebrating after receiving national recognition for its commitment to nature and protecting the environment.

Brougham Primary School has achieved ‘Young Tree Champion National Beacon School Status’ from The Tree Council for its Forest School project.

The Tree Council is a national body that brings everyone together with a shared mission to care for trees and the planet’s future.

The school started the project last year by transforming a grass field area into a wealth of flowers, trees, and shrubs to encourage wildlife.

Helen Moore, who has led on the initiative at Brougham, said: “The children have worked together to create various areas within the space whilst thinking about the different wildlife we wanted to encourage to visit.

“We’ve created a whole school vegetable patch where the children planted seasonal vegetables. They have been watering them and checking on them regularly. Already we’ve had delicious radishes and the carrots are coming on nicely. We’ve also planted potatoes, beans, and strawberries.

“We have planted trees, hedgerows and wildflowers that we have watered and looked after and now we are seeing the fruits of our labour. The Forest School is alive with beautiful wildflowers, lush meadow grass, new trees and hedgerows and we are seeing an increasing number of ladybirds, butterflies, and bees. Children have also created a bird-feeding station.

“It has been a great experience for our children. They have taken ownership of the space and I have seen first-hand the pleasure it has brought to them, spending time outdoors working on the development of the site with their friends.

“It has been a fantastic team effort and we’ve even had parents donating wooden planters for the wildflowers.

“I am incredibly proud of all the children for the passion and dedication they have shown, and everyone is looking forward to developing the site further in the months and years ahead.”

Brougham is one of eight primary schools across Teesside under the umbrella of Ad Astra Academy Trust.

Sarah Greenan, Headteacher at Brougham Primary School, commented: “One of the best ways we can enjoy and protect our environment is through the planting of trees.

“At Brougham, we are so excited about being named as a Young Tree Champion National Beacon School as it highlights our approach for fostering a love for nature and our commitment to a more sustainable future.

“To achieve Beacon Status the pupils undertook a series of activities to highlight the importance of trees in tackling climate change and the benefits of being in nature for our health and wellbeing.

“As a Beacon School, we will now benefit from additional trees and hedgerow packs, tailored to our forest school’s plans, additional free technology, such as wildlife cameras and opportunities to trial and develop new resources.

“This is a great achievement, and I would like to thank all the pupils and staff, particularly Mrs Moore for all of their hard work and dedication to developing our outdoor learning environment on our school grounds.”

The others Ad Astra Academy Trust primary schools are Barnard Grove, West Park and West View in Hartlepool, Crooksbarn and Rosebrook in Stockton-on-Tees and Ayresome and Sunnyside in Middlesbrough.

Ad Astra Academy Trust was formed in 2015 and over the last eight years has grown across the Tees Valley, providing education for over 3,500 pupils and 525 employees in Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Hartlepool.

Helen Moore of Brougham Primary School is pictured with pupils celebrating Beacon Status for their Forest School.

Tyler Railton and Fallon Moore at the bird feeding station.

Aubrey Moore and Aiden Moore survey the strawberry plants.

Daniel Markitans and Ava Marper check on the wildflowers.

Five-times Olympic gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave CBE sailed into Teesside this week to help inspire teachers and education bosses.

The most successful British rower in Olympic history was Guest Speaker at Ad Astra Academy Trust’s Festival of Education 2023 Conference.

The eight primary schools under the umbrella of Ad Astra are Ayresome and Sunnyside in Middlesbrough, Crooksbarn and Rosebrook in Stockton-on-Tees and Barnard Grove, Brougham, West Park and West View in Hartlepool.

Over 250 teachers and school leaders attended the day-long event, held at Teesside University, Middlesbrough.

Andy Brown OBE, Chief Executive Officer of Ad Astra Academy Trust, said: “Sir Steve Redgrave has a proven track record of sustained success at the highest level and that can only be achieved through hard work, resilience, and determination.

“These are just some of the attributes which we want to instil in our teachers and staff and Sir Steve Redgrave is a fantastic role model to demonstrate how success can be achieved against a backdrop of the daily challenges we all face.”

The event was chaired by leading educationalist Maggie Farrar CBE and included a series of workshops and discussions throughout the day on key current issues and challenges for schools.

Sir Steve Redgrave spoke about how one of his teachers at school had given him the opportunity to have a go at rowing.

He said: “Teachers are so important to guiding young people and one of my teachers gave me the opportunity to be a rower. If you ask any Olympian who their inspiration was, most will say one of their schoolteachers.”

He added: “Work ethic is the key to success. Even if you have talent you have to work hard; the harder you work, the better you become.”

Former newspaper editor and children’s author Peter Barron MBE hosted the question-and-answer session with Sir Steve Redgrave and also spoke at the event along with Anthony Daulphin of the Standing Ovation Project – a multi award-winning national education body.

Pupils welcomed guests at the start of the event which included an address from 10-year-old Janna Oyedeji from Rosebrook Primary School and a music and dance display by Crooksbarn Primary School.

Pupils also produced a range of artwork depicting Sir Steve Redgrave’s hugely successful rowing career which he was really impressed with.

Chris Simmons, chair of the Ad Astra trustees gave a vote of thanks at the end. He said: “What a day it has been with excellent speakers and workshops. We have outstanding staff across all of our schools who provide inspiration and raise the hopes and aspirations of young children.”

Ad Astra Academy Trust was formed in 2015 and over the last eight years has grown across the Tees Valley, providing education for over 3,500 pupils and 525 employees in Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees.

 

Sir Steve Redgrave CBE with Ad Astra Academy Trust CEO Andy Brown OBE

 

Delegates at Festival of Education 2023

 

Click below to view videos of Festival of Education 2023

Video – Andy Brown- Festival of Education 2023

Video – Sir Steve Redgrave – Festival of Education 2023

Video – Sir Steve Redgrave praises artwork

A Hartlepool primary school and UNISON have joined forces to recognise the fantastic work undertaken by school support staff.

‘Stars in our Schools’ is an annual UK-wide celebration, co-ordinated by UNISON, to acknowledge the invaluable contribution by the likes of catering and admin staff, cleaners, family support advisors and ICT technicians.

The celebratory event took place at Brougham Primary School today (23 November). School leaders praised the support staff whilst pupils showed their appreciation by making a short film which was seen for the first time.

Support staff also received a certificate and a goodie bag from UNISON’s Dawn Nicholson as she thanked everyone for their dedication and hard work.

Brougham is one of eight primary schools across Teesside under the umbrella of Ad Astra Academy Trust.

Chris Simmons, Chair of Ad Astra Academy Trust Board, said, “Our teaching staff and school leaders do an amazing job across all of our schools, but we also have a wide range of support staff who are equally valued for the roles they play to help children learn, keep safe and healthy and make sure our schools run efficiently and smoothly.

“We’ve supported this initiative for a number of years, and we are delighted to team up with UNISON once again to celebrate the work of the unsung heroes in our schools.”

Support staff Hayley Barclay and Michelle Allison, who are both higher level teaching assistants and former pupils of the school said the event was lovely surprise.

Hayley Barclay said: “It’s lovely to be appreciated and the event was a really nice surprise. We are told every day that we are appreciated but seeing the children saying lovely things about us and watching the video was wonderful.”

Michelle Allison commented: “The event was fantastic. It makes the tough, stressful days more rewarding and worthwhile, and it was lovely to hear from the children about the impact that we have on them and that we really make a difference.”

Andy Brown OBE, Chief Executive Officer of Ad Astra Academy Trust, commented: “As a Trust we are so lucky to have such talented and dedicated staff and on a daily basis I am humbled and amazed at the commitment, care and drive to ensure our children get the best education possible.

“The Covid pandemic really highlighted just how important support staff are to keeping schools up and running, providing vital support to children and families, and helping pupils progress in their learning.

“Support staff were on site during lockdown periods making sure the buildings were deep cleaned, arranging IT for online learning and supporting the children of key workers. The contribution support staff make cannot be under-estimated.”

Dawn Nicholson, UNISON’s Area Organiser, said: “UNISON is really pleased once again to work in partnership with Ad Astra Academy Trust. School support staff are so often hidden behind the scenes, but they are vital to the education of young people. Their roles are incredibly diverse, from cooks, cleaners and family support advisers to teaching assistants, admin staff and school business professionals.

“They all play a vital role in every aspect of school life and without them schools simply could not function. This annual UK-wide celebration is a great opportunity for pupils, parents and teachers to promote the work of their support staff and thank them for their outstanding contribution.”

Sarah Greenan, Headteacher at Brougham Primary School, commented: “The event provided an opportunity to highlight the contributions made by this fantastic group of employees.

“We recently asked our children to reflect on the support they receive at school, and it really brought a tear to the eye. I was left in no doubt that the work of employees at Brougham, goes well beyond, a child’s desk.”

Ad Astra Academy Trust was formed in 2015 and over the last seven years has grown across the Tees Valley, providing education for over 3,000 pupils and 500 employees in Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Hartlepool.

The other primary schools within Ad Astra Academy Trust are Barnard Grove, West Park and West View in Hartlepool, Crooksbarn and Rosebrook in Stockton-on-Tees and Ayresome and Sunnyside in Middlesbrough.

   

A Hartlepool primary school has landed a gold award for its commitment to school games and physical activity.

Brougham Primary School – one of eight primary schools under the umbrella of Ad Astra Academy Trust – has achieved the national School Games Gold Mark Award.

The School Games Mark is a government-led award scheme launched in 2012, facilitated by the Youth Sport Trust to reward and recognise school participation in school games.

Keighley Bradford, a teacher at the school has led on the initiative with support from teaching assistant Jenn Hopkins.

Keighley said: “Everyone associated with the school is thrilled to bits with the Gold Mark Award. Last year we were awarded the Bronze Mark Award, so this is a significant achievement.

“Children at Brougham enjoy a wide range of sporting experiences both within school and beyond. We teach the importance of exercise and encourage our children to be active for 60 minutes every day.

“This is carefully planned into our timetables through active break times and lunchtimes and with the launch of our SKip2BFit programme.

“We have placed a great emphasis on internal and inter school competition allowing children at Brougham to increase their confidence and competence in a range of sports.

“We also understand the importance of parental involvement to help promote sport and exercise, so we regularly communicate our sporting programmes to parents through newsletters and social media posts.

“Achieving the Gold School Games Mark has been a real team effort to ensure that sport is embedded throughout the curriculum and in extra-curricular activities.”

Keighley also praised The Collective Cluster – a group of schools in Hartlepool that promote involvement in sport and physical activity, Hartlepool Athletics Club and John Spence, a local strength and conditioning coach for the roles they played in helping to achieve gold.

Sarah Greenan, Headteacher of Brougham Primary School, added: “We are delighted to have achieved the Gold School Games Sports Award, which recognises our ongoing commitment to promoting physical education throughout the school.

“All pupils in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 receive a minimum of two hours physical education per week to raise the profile of sport and exercise. We also provide lots of sporting opportunities for pupils and work with local clubs such as Hartlepool Athletics Club to ensure that pupils access high quality teaching and coaching as part of the curriculum.

“I am extremely proud of our pupils and staff for their dedication to all aspects of physical activity and school sport, including the young volunteers, leaders and officials who help make our many events possible.”

Jonny Murray, the Collective Cluster lead, commented: “It has been fantastic working with Brougham Primary School over the last five years, the progress they have made in Sport and PE is outstanding.

“Brougham has worked very hard to embed a new culture of sport in their school, they ensure that no child gets left behind, and all children have the opportunity to excel in sport.

“The Gold School Games Award is very much well deserved. Mrs Bradford and her team have done a great job and put a lot of hard work in.”

There are seven other primary schools within Ad Astra Academy Trust. They are Barnard Grove, West Park and West View in Hartlepool, Crooksbarn and Rosebrook in Stockton-on-Tees and Ayresome and Sunnyside in Middlesbrough.

 

Video – School Games Gold – John Spence
Video – School Games Gold – Keighley Bradford

 

Click below to listen to the BBC Radio Tees broadcast.

BBC Radio Tees – School strikes gold for sporting prowess – Brougham

Children at seven primary schools across Teesside are set to benefit from a new project after a £50,000 cash boost.

It follows a successful bid to SHINE, an education charity that works with schools and other organisations, to help disadvantaged children fulfil their true potential.

The schools, in Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Stockton-on-Tees, are all part of Ad Astra Academy Trust and the money will be used to improve speech and language skills of 3 and 4-year-olds.

Philippa Kermotschuk, Deputy Lead for School Improvement with Ad Astra Academy Trust, said: “We are seeing an increasing number of children entering our schools with below average speech and language skills.

“We want to ensure that all of our children get off to the best possible start at school and this funding will help us to focus on the children who need additional support to bring their speech and language skills to the required level.”

The SHINE grant of £52,080 will be spent over a two-year period. It will involve various initiatives including the appointment of speech and language champions at each school and programmes for parents to help them support and encourage their children.

Dr Helen Rafferty, Interim Chief Executive Officer of SHINE, said: “SHINE is delighted to be working with the Ad Astra Academy Trust on this important and inspiring project.

“We know that the early years of a child’s educational journey are critically important in giving them the best possible chances in life, and that speech and communication is one of the most vital skills our children can develop.

“We are looking forward to seeing many more children in the region find their voice and thrive throughout their school years.”

Andy Brown OBE, Chief Executive Officer for Ad Astra Academy Trust, commented: “We are delighted to receive financial support from SHINE and there’s no doubt it will help to raise standards and aspirations of our young children.”

It’s felt that the increased reliance on technology in recent years and a rise in poverty across our communities are the main contributory factors to young children lacking basic speech and language skills.

Leanne Todd, Headteacher of Rosebrook Primary School, added: “It is so important that children get off to a good start with their speech and acquisition of language as it enables them to succeed in all areas of the curriculum as well as to socialise and interact with others.

“The initiative will help our schools to identify issues at an early stage in a child’s development, meaning we can intervene sooner to enable all children to keep up or catch up.”

The seven primary schools within Ad Astra Academy Trust are Barnard Grove, Brougham, West Park and West View in Hartlepool, Ayresome in Middlesbrough and Crooksbarn and Rosebrook in Stockton-on-Tees.

Issued by Alastair Rae on behalf of Ad Astra Academy Trust. For further information, contact Alastair on 0758 1239557.