Shrewsbury Academy 'unrecognisable' after around £300K spent on supporting positive learning environment

Staff and students at a Shropshire academy are thrilled to see the impact that a £300,000 investment is having on their learning environment.

Pic in the Nurture Room with Nurture Lead and Teacher: Catherine Currie and Xander Rosheski 11
Pic in the Nurture Room with Nurture Lead and Teacher: Catherine Currie and Xander Rosheski 11

Shrewsbury Academy, which has 808 pupils, has seen a whole host of changes since it became part of the Marches Academy Trust in September 2019.

Headteacher Julie Johnson with the head of Grange Primary School, which is also part of the Trust. Pupils are: Jess Thomas 11 and Billie Hart 11

While the work is still ongoing, headteacher Miss Julie Johnson said: "The school is unrecognisable from where it was three years ago.

"There's calm and levels of respect between staff and students and we're a community that is proud of the direction we're going in.

"We've seen significant changes in behaviour, academic progress and facilities, which we hope will provide a positive platform for students through their educational journey."

Summer Jones 14, Mason Doughty 14, Jaydn Peart 14, Lucas Loftus 15 and Tyler Lenton 14 on the playground

From a newly-painted playground with netball courts and five-aside pitches, to a combined art and music block to nurture pupils' creative potential, the school offers a broad curriculum.

And it's not just decorative. Staff say there is also a different feel to the school – in students attitude to learning and toward each other – than there has previously been.

Jim Taylor, deputy headteacher, said: "We've tried to model a methodology with all staff of capturing all pupils being good, of visible consistency and kindness."

The school has a lesson grading system in place for behaviour, where students receive a grade out of four, and swift action is taken if it is deemed unsatisfactory.

Mr Taylor said that this system is consistent across members of staff who follow the same guidance and respond in the same way when dealing with behaviour.

He added the transformation of the school has helped improve the behaviour and learning of pupils, which is reflective in their overall progress and school exclusion rates.

In 2019, the year Shrewsbury Academy became part of the trust, there were 13 permanent exclusions, but in the last academic year there were no permanent exclusions.

The school has also reduced fixed period exclusions by upwards of 40 per cent, which contrasts with the national picture, where fixed period exclusions have increased from 310,733 in 2019-20 to 352,454 in 2020-21.

"That is huge for us, it demonstrates the inclusive nature of the school in funding positive solutions for students to engage them in learning both within school and with partners," Mr Taylor added.

Having a Jam session in front of the Art and Music block are staff: Teacher: Alex Miller and Operations Manager: Nick Parkin, and pupils: Daisy Poole 14, Cairlin Jervis 14, Molly Ewings 14, Jessica Murless 14

The school medical room has been refurbished to provide a 'comfortable' and 'calming' environment where children and parents can come to.

There is also a Nurture Room, which supports Year 7 students with their transition into secondary school, to help build their self-esteem and confidence.

Currently used by a group of 10 students for around two hours a day, the room provides a safe space for them to read, eat breakfast and spend break time together.

Pic in the Nurture Room with Nurture Lead and Teacher: Catherine Currie and Xander Rosheski 11

At Shrewsbury Academy, every child can get a free breakfast and the school is working to reduce the amount parents need to spend on uniform.

The school also runs the Something 4 Tea campaign which was set up in 2021 by former SEND Lead Access Leader Sue Thomas, who died in 2021.

As part of the campaign, students can collect a food package and take one home with them to ensure that families within the local community aren't going hungry.

According to Miss Johnson, the school feeds 30 families a week thanks to donations from members of staff and support from the food hub.

She said Shrewsbury Academy prides itself as having community at its heart, as being a "school for the future".

Headteacher Julie Johnson with the head of Grange Primary School, which is also part of the Trust. Pupils are: Jess Thomas 11 and Billie Hart 11

To find out more visit shrewsburyacademy.co.uk.

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