Students who attend Springwell Learning Community’s Kendray site are set to benefit from a transformed learning environment when they head back to their classrooms this week.
Springwell Learning Community comprises both Springwell Special Academy, for pupils with social, emotional and mental health difficulties, and Springwell Alternative Academy, for pupils excluded from mainstream settings. It operates a number of satellite settings around Barnsley, including the site at Kendray.
Funding of £1.3m was provided by Barnsley Council for a full refurbishment of the site, including the introduction of a new food technology room and multi-purpose design technology space. The building has also been remodelled, with several walls removed and replaced, and works including replacement of windows, doors, ceilings and flooring. Energy saving systems such as solar panels and a low carbon heat system have also been installed.
Sarah Wilson, Executive Principal at Springwell Learning Community, said: “We’re all incredibly excited to welcome students back to the much-improved Kendray site. The new building will be transformational for both students and staff, and provides the high quality teaching environment that every child deserves.
“The refurbishment also enables us to provide 16 additional special school places, which means more students can access specialist provision closer to their homes. We’re really looking forward to seeing the new facilities being used.”
Shaun Kiernan, Director of Capital and IT at Wellspring Academy Trust, which Springwell Learning Community is part of, added: “At Wellspring, we firmly believe that all children are entitled to high quality, engaging, vibrant spaces in which to learn. The quality of school environments matters, and it has a real, tangible impact on the outcomes for children. Thanks to funding from BMBC, students at Springwell Learning Community’s Kendray site will benefit from a transformed building that is fit for purpose and can meet their needs. The whole team, including Triton Construction, Gate & Bar Ltd and LHL Group, have done an excellent job on this project and their work really will make a difference.”
Staff and students at a Spalding school are celebrating after being rated Outstanding by inspectors in their first Ofsted inspection.
In the Ofsted report, released on 10th November, Springwell Spalding Alternative Academy was praised for its deep understanding of its pupils and ability to get the very best from them. The school opened in 2019 and caters for pupils who have been, or are at risk of being, excluded from mainstream school.
Inspectors reported that: “Staff at Springwell Alternative Academy make a difference to pupils’ lives. Pupils receive care, guidance and support in a warm and nurturing environment. Pupils who attend this school often have difficult previous school experiences, or have significant challenges in their lives. Staff understand this and have created a positive, supportive environment where pupils do well. There are kind, professional relationships between staff and pupils.”
They also highlighted the quality of the curriculum and teaching, stating: “The curriculum is carefully considered so that all pupils can maximise their learning whether they are at the school for a short period of time or longer… Pupils rapidly broaden their knowledge during their time here. The vast majority of pupils successfully reintegrate into a mainstream school or move on to suitable specialist provision. Year 11 pupils follow a highly personalised curriculum, which is broad and ambitious.”
The way Springwell Spalding engages pupils was also commended with inspectors reporting that: “Pupils enjoy attending this school. They value the opportunity to gain an education and benefit from the rich experiences offered to them, for example visiting authors, cooking meals to enjoy together and taking part in adventurous outdoor activities.”
Lisa Ashcroft-Day, Executive Principal at Springwell Spalding, said: “Since opening in 2019, the Springwell Spalding team has worked tirelessly to create something exceptional for our pupils and community. We’re incredibly proud to now have that recognised externally in this fantastic first Ofsted report.
“Our students often have had difficult experiences with education and we work hard to ensure that we turn that around when they come to us. We focus on developing a deep understanding of each student and giving them the support and compassion they need to thrive. We’re particularly proud that inspectors underlined our ‘positive regard for all’ approach and our high ambitions for our students. We want all our young people to have the skills and resources to move on to productive, successful lives and we’ll continue to work hard to make that happen.”
Mark Wilson, CEO at Wellspring Academy Trust, added: “Lisa and the team at Springwell Spalding have created something truly special. The school is warm, supportive, highly effective and provides its young people with the foundations they need for success. Inspectors were absolutely right to state that staff ‘make a difference to pupils’ lives.’ The Springwell Spalding team are changing lives every day and we’re all very proud to have them as part of the Wellspring community.”
Penny Field School in Meanwood, Leeds is a special school that supports children from 2 – 19 years of age. Due to the complex physical challenges that many of the children face, a hydrotherapy pool plays an essential role in delivering the care Penny Field pupils need.
The new pool, which replaces an old pool that was no longer fit for purpose, has been made possible thanks to a private donation to PhysCap, and also a donation by Wooden Spoon. The building contractor for the project was Whitaker & Leach, with the sensory install provided via Premier Solutions. Bespoke joinery was completed by MJA Joinery.
The pool was formally opened at 10am today, with special guests gathering to see it for the first time. Parents are delighted with the new provision, with Helen Burns, mum of Emily, saying: “The new hydrotherapy pool and sensory lighting is fantastic news for the entire school. My daughter loves spending time in the pool. It is both relaxing and stimulating. Being in the water enables her to move her limbs in different ways and gives a sense of freedom she doesn’t get in her wheelchair.
“The staff at Penny Field School work brilliantly with the children in a range of activities and knowing the Hydrotherapy Pool will benefit pupils for years to come is just brilliant. Thanks so much to Physcap and Wooden Spoon for their kind donations.”
Hannah Duffey, Headteacher at Penny Field School, added: “We can’t express enough how grateful we are to PhysCap, Wooden Spoon and the private donor. Our old pool was in dire need of renovation and repair. We didn’t have a functional changing area, tiles were coming off and it was getting to the point where it was becoming unusable. We use the pool every day and it’s an incredibly important part of the care that we offer to our children. This new pool will be transformational for our school and we can’t wait to see Penny Field pupils enjoying it.”
PhysCap Children’s Charity is 100% volunteer run and aims to help improve the lives of children across the Yorkshire region who suffer with both physical and mental disabilities. The charity has had a long standing relationship with Penny Field School, dating back to providing funding to enable children to participate in Snaps swimming club classes. More recently, PhysCap funded a £24,000 outdoor sensory area at Penny Field thanks to a kind donation from Martin Greenhow of Mojo Bars.
Speaking about the funding for this latest pool project at Penny Field School, Daniel Grey, PhysCap Chairman, said: “We are absolutely delighted to see how fantastic it looks and we are thrilled at how much pleasure this will give the children at Pennyfield school, the teachers, the care workers and the wider community for many years to come.
“Seeing everyone here today gives us so much joy in the knowledge that we have helped improve the lives of so many people across the Yorkshire region, both now and in the future. Long may our relationship with Pennyfield school continue.”
Staff and students at Elements Primary School in Middleton, Leeds warmly welcomed Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn into their classrooms earlier this month, and shared their thoughts on how to improve Leeds.
Elements Primary School pupils, known as ‘world changers’ within their school community, were incredibly excited to meet their special visitor and show them around their recently rated ‘Good’ school. Mr Benn met with every year group and enjoyed participating in phonics and maths lessons. It was Year 3 that really stole the spotlight though when they took the opportunity to read in person the letters they had been writing to him as part of their persuasive writing work. Requests for more parks and museums all featured heavily!
Carrie Green, Executive Principal at Elements Primary School, CEO at Wellspring Academy Trust, said: “We are tremendously proud of our school, and staff and pupils alike were thrilled to be able to show Mr Benn around for the first time since we were inspected by Ofsted. Since opening in 2018, Elements has gone from strength to strength and our young people demonstrated that beautifully. They certainly impressed Mr Benn with their carefully considered and confidently read letters. I’m sure he’s gone back to Westminster with plenty of ideas to think about from our ‘world changers!’
Hilary Benn MP, added: “I much enjoyed visiting Elements Primary and was greatly impressed by the careful thought that the Year 3 pupils had put into their letters to me. They obviously care a lot about their community and they expressed themselves very well. Congratulations to all of them!”
Littlecoates Primary Academy in Grimsby is excited to share its crowdfunding campaign to create a new pond and wildlife area within its school grounds. This comes fast on the heels of the school gardening club being named a top ten finalist in last year’s prestigious RHS School Gardeners of the Year competition. This recognition showcases the school’s commitment to environmental education and sustainable practices, while the crowdfunding campaign aims to provide students with an enhanced learning environment and support local wildlife.
Following on from their achievement, Littlecoates Primary Academy is now moving on to a crowdfunding campaign to fund the development of a dedicated pond and wildlife area on the school grounds. The campaign aims to turn some disused, bramble-covered space into an enriching habitat for local wildlife, including a pond and a hide for observing and learning about the diverse species that inhabit the area. This initiative underscores the school’s commitment to environmental stewardship, biodiversity, and providing students with immersive educational opportunities.
Neville Wilkinson, Headteacher at Littlecoates Primary Academy, said: “We are immensely proud to be named a finalist in the RHS School Gardeners of the Year competition, recognising the hard work and dedication of our gardening club. This achievement pushes us on to continue our efforts in environmental education. Our crowdfunding campaign for the new wildlife area aligns perfectly with our mission to provide our students with exceptional learning experiences and create a sustainable future for our local ecosystem. For many of our pupils, green space is in short supply at home so offering access to the natural world at school is incredibly important.”
The crowdfunding campaign will enable Littlecoates Primary Academy to transform a large, currently unused portion of their grounds into a thriving wildlife habitat. By supporting the campaign, donors will contribute to the creation of an ecosystem that fosters biodiversity, allowing students to engage with nature and learn about the importance of conservation first hand. The campaign will also provide the wider community with some much needed green space to enjoy and benefit from.
The gardening club at Littlecoates Primary Academy has been instrumental in fostering a love for gardening and nature among the students. The club is supported by Voluntary Action North East Lincolnshire (VANEL) and run by volunteer leader and ‘Green Mentor’ Sam Smith. Through various educational activities and projects, the club has empowered children to develop their gardening skills and deepen their understanding of environmental sustainability. The addition of the new wildlife area will provide an immersive setting for students to explore and appreciate the wonders of the natural world.
The combination of being named a finalist in the prestigious competition and launching the crowdfunding campaign highlights Littlecoates Primary Academy’s dedication to environmental education and community engagement. The school invites Littlecoates’ supporters and nature enthusiasts alike to contribute to the crowdfunding campaign and help create a vibrant wildlife area that will inspire generations of students and benefit the whole community.
Twelve new specialist primary school places for children with communication and interaction needs have been created in Grimsby for the first time.
Launchpad – the first school specialist provision of its type in North East Lincolnshire – is designed to be a ‘turnaround provision’ for early years children and those in Key Stage 1 (aged 4, 5 and 6).
The new provision is being delivered by Wellspring’s Littlecoates Primary Academy, and is the result of a partnership with North East Lincolnshire Council.
The provision formally launched today (15/09), with 12 new students taking up their places at the school.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the provision, Councillor Margaret Cracknell, portfolio holder for children and education at North East Lincolnshire Council, said:
“This provision is the result of some real innovative work between the Council and Wellspring Academy Trust.
“Our priority here is to ensure that children who might need a little extra help, get that help, and are eventually able to return to mainstream schooling.
“This type of support is in real demand here in North East Lincolnshire, so I’m really pleased that we have managed to get this off the ground and running, and it’s going to be great to see students getting started in September.
“I’d like to thank Wellspring Academy Trust for working with us to make this happen, and I’d like to wish those students attending Launchpad the very best of luck for the forthcoming year of their education.”
Neville Wilkinson, Principal at Littlecoates Primary, said:
“Our new Launchpad provision will offer 12 pupils with SEND the specialist support and teaching to enable them to stay in mainstream education and attend school in their local area. At Littlecoates, we pride ourselves on our welcoming, inclusive approach and are incredibly proud to be able to support children with a wide range of needs. By working together with North East Lincolnshire Council, we have been able to create something that will make a huge difference to the lives of 12 children and their families. We’re looking forward to watching the progress of the first pupils to benefit from this important resource over the coming months and years.”
Victoria McReast, whose daughter attends the new provision, said: “The staff are all extremely welcoming and have excellent communication with parents both in person and via the class Dojo app.
“This includes the activities the children are up to along with photos, and this helps settle myself and my husband as Felicity cannot talk so we constantly worry about her.
“We feel very fortunate that Fliss has got a place at the launchpad as they cater for all the different needs of the children and their interests.
“I just wish the Launchpad ran the entirety of her school life because knowing Fliss has many extra needs, it’s very comforting to know and trust that she is settled in a place that has her best interests at heart.”
Admissions to the new provision have been managed by North East Lincolnshire SEND team, in line with the SEND Code of Practice (2015) via annual reviews of EHCPs.
Staff and students at a Wellspring special school in Barnsley are celebrating after being rated Outstanding by Ofsted for the third consecutive time.
In its latest Ofsted report, released over the summer, Greenacre School on Keresforth Hill Road was praised for maintaining its high standard of education and working well with external professionals to ensure pupils get the right support and are well prepared for adulthood.
Inspectors reported that: “The mission to ‘nurture, empower and prepare’ pupils for life is at the heart of this welcoming and inclusive school. Relationships between pupils and staff are warm and nurturing. Leaders listen to pupils. They ensure pupils have a ‘voice and choice’ in their education.”
They also praised the school’s approach to behaviour, stating: “Pupils’ behaviour is exceptional. Highly proficient staff support pupils to manage their behaviour very well. There is a strong ethos of respect for others. They have excellent attitudes to learning. They feel safe and are very well looked after.”
The school’s approach to developing its curriculum and the calibre of its teachers were also highlighted with inspectors reporting that: “The curriculum meets the needs of the range of pupils very well. The ‘access’ curriculum strongly underpins learning across the whole curriculum. It is thoughtfully designed and planned. Pupils, particularly those with complex needs, can engage with learning and develop personally…Teachers are highly skilled. They know individual pupils very well. They check frequently the progress pupils make. They use this information to plan pupils’ next steps effectively.”
Sarah Wilson, Executive Principal at Greenacre School, said: “Greenacre is a wonderful school where staff go above and beyond every single day to ensure our pupils receive the highest quality education and care. Whilst the verdicts of our pupils and parents will always be our most important judgement, it is a great achievement to be rated Outstanding yet again by Ofsted, and we are very proud.
“As we look ahead, we are determined to build on our successes and continue to develop the services, resources and opportunities that we can offer Greenacre pupils. They deserve the very best and the best is what we are committed to providing.”
Mark Wilson, CEO at Wellspring Academy Trust, added: “We are very proud to have had Greenacre School as part of our school community for the last five years. It continues to go from strength to strength, and delivers the quality of education that all our children and young people should enjoy. Sarah and the Greenacre team set the standard for SEND education and ensure that the Barnsley community has an incredible local resource to support some of their most vulnerable residents.”
Established in 2012, Wellspring Academy Trust is a family of mainstream primary and secondary schools, and SEND and Alternative Provision settings operating across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Wellspring’s mantra is ‘We Make A Difference’ and it is committed to providing the best possible education and improving life chances for all its students. By sharing best practice, resources, and expertise, the Trust supports schools to deliver exceptional education and serve the communities in which its academies operate.
As students and staff settle back into school life after the summer, Wellspring Academy Trust has reached a significant milestone in its growth trajectory thanks to two new schools joining its community.
The addition of Parkside School, a mainstream secondary based in Bradford, and Trent View College, a new 60-place post 16 special school in Scunthorpe which opened to students this week, has meant that Wellspring has reached – and surpassed – the key marker of 30 schools. There are now 31 schools that make up the Wellspring school community, ranging from mainstream primaries and secondaries to SEND and AP settings. Its schools span eight local authorities and cover Yorkshire and Humberside, and Lincolnshire.
Mark Wilson, CEO at Wellspring said: “There is something significant about reaching the number 30 and this is a very proud moment for everyone involved in Wellspring. Growing to a community of 31 schools is clear testimony to our approach and the support we offer all our schools.
“Parkside joining Wellspring is an incredibly exciting development. It becomes our second mainstream secondary school, after Beacon Academy in Cleethorpes, and our largest school by pupil numbers so far. Trent View College is our sixth free school to be completed and is a superb showcase of what can be achieved with smart thinking and a commitment to delivering the very best learning environments for all pupils.
“With two new free schools in progress and more schools than ever expressing interest in joining Wellspring, we are looking forward to making a difference for more and more children and young people and their communities. Wellspring is clear about its approach – long term strategic thinking and careful financial management alongside an unwavering focus on compassion, inclusivity and empathy and creative, engaging curricula. That approach is proving highly appealing to many in the education sector.”
Wellspring Academy Trust was founded in 2012 and has gone from strength to strength since then. Whilst supported by Wellspring, 22 schools have been inspected by Ofsted and 11 have improved in grade, with seven moving from Inadequate to Good or Outstanding and four moving to Good from Requires Improvement.
A world-first new special school has opened its doors to students for the very first time.
Trent View College, situated at West Common Lane, Scunthorpe, is a new post-16 college for students with special educational needs designed to remove barriers to learning and help young people develop important life and employability skills and prepare them for adulthood.
Part of Wellspring Academy Trust, the new purpose-built £12 million school provides state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities for the 60 students who will attend. The building is testament to modern design, accessibility and inclusivity in education, and has been carefully designed to meet the learning objectives of those who will attend. A large commercial kitchen space will be used for students to both learn catering skills and prepare the meals for their fellow classmates, whilst a vehicle workshop will allow students to learn about car maintenance and repairs. The building also comprises a cafe which will serve the public and enable students to develop their hospitality skills. Complementing the vocational areas are carefully considered therapeutic spaces to provide support and intervention for young people with more complex needs. These include a hydrotherapy pool, rebound area and fully immersive sensory rooms. The combination of these facilities will support the model of social inclusion allowing all students to work together, providing a space to meet their individual needs and aspirations.
As well as offering the very best in inclusive post-16 learning facilities, the building itself is a world-first when it comes to environmental impact. Designed by HLM Architects and built by Morgan Sindall Construction , the school meets strict Passivhaus standards around energy efficiency and environmental impact. The inclusion of a heat-intensive hydrotherapy pool in the build makes Trent View College the first SEND school with a hydrotherapy pool in the world to achieve Passivhaus standards.
Sarah Parker, Principal at Trent View College, said: “Today is an incredibly exciting moment for the local community and for everyone who has been involved in the efforts to bring this wonderful new school to Scunthorpe. We now have this amazing new building and talented team in place to provide a nurturing space where our students can acquire vital life skills, engage in meaningful work and develop their routes toward independence. It will be life changing for the students attending.
“As well as world-class facilities for our students, this new school will also be a fantastic resource available for use by the wider community. We are very much looking forward to putting Trent View College at the heart of the Scunthorpe community and working closely with businesses and partners across the area.”
Mark Wilson, CEO at Wellspring Academy Trust, added: “This is the culmination of years of hard work, dedication and creative thinking from all partners involved in this project, and today is a truly proud moment for us all. At Wellspring, we prioritise inclusivity, forward-thinking, community involvement and a desire to always do things better. Trent View College epitomises that approach. The innovation and ambition behind this project has set the standard for what SEND schools can, and should, be. I look forward to watching the impact of Trent View College on its students and the Scunthorpe community over the coming months and years.”
Ben Hall, Area Director at Morgan Sindall Construction – Yorkshire, said: “At Morgan Sindall we are committed to equal opportunities and believe that everyone should be given the best possible chance at achieving their goals. It’s therefore a privilege to have contributed to the skills development of young people in the local community with special educational needs through the creation of Trent View College.
“It’s incredibly positive to see more demand for state-of-the-art facilities such as Trent View College. It indicates a change in ideals surrounding our education system and understanding of how we encourage the best out of everyone. Collaboration has been crucial to this project, and the support we’ve had from the Wellspring Academy Trust and HLM has given us the scope to apply our expertise in delivering this fantastic educational environment. Through the deployment of our Intelligent Solutions approach we were able to help this landmark college achieve Passivhaus accreditation.
“We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Wellspring Academy Trust and look forward to seeing the impact of its work – and of Trent View College – in the near future.”
Catherine Ward, Associate & SEN Lead at HLM Architects, added: “HLM are incredibly proud to have been involved in the design and delivery of this unique special school. The new building will not only provide much needed school places and specialist facilities for post 16 students with SEND in North Lincolnshire but, also provide numerous benefits offered by Passivhaus design including; an energy efficient, sustainable, high performing building; lowered running cost; and a comfortable internal environment improving health and wellbeing of students and staff. The success of the design has been achieved through a collaborative process involving the Trust and DfE and provides a contemporary, exemplary sustainable school which meets the very specialist needs of the building users.”
Trent View College is a fully inclusive post-16 college, where individual differences are celebrated and aspirations are supported. Its aim is to develop inquisitive, aspirational and resilient young people who are fully equipped to engage and contribute to their own communities.
Progress towards a new Wellspring SEND school in Selby has advanced with the selection of Bowmer + Kirkland by the Department for Education as the main contractor tasked with bringing forward proposals for the new school.
The new 100 place all-through (3-19 years) school is proposed for a site off the A63 Hull Road in Osgodby and will provide much needed SEND places for the Selby area and new facilities for the community to share. The proposals will deliver a major investment from the Department for Education and North Yorkshire Council and will be part of Wellspring Academy Trust.
The project team is inviting local people to an exhibition to view the plans in more detail on Monday 18th September 2023, from 5-8pm at Barlby Library and Community Hub, or by visiting the project website selbyareasendschoolplans.co.uk where you can register for updates and leave your feedback.
North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for education, learning and skills, Cllr Annabel Wilkinson, said, “I am absolutely delighted that we are moving forward with the proposals to provide Selby and the surrounding area with a special school for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
“The public engagement planned is an important milestone in the delivery of the new Special School. We will continue to work with the Department for Education and Wellspring Academy Trust to ensure our children and young people who need support have access to high quality specialist provision, local to them.”
James Beeston, Regional Design Manager at Bowmer + Kirkland, said, “Our proposals for the site, which has an education allocation in the draft emerging Selby Local Plan, will meet the latest standards of sustainable building regulations, be largely constructed off-site to help minimise disruption to neighbours and be of a high-quality architectural design that supports the needs of local children with SEND.”
Sean Kiernan, Director of Capital and IT at Wellspring Academy Trust, commented, “We believe that every child has the right to an engaging, exciting education. We champion inclusive education, stronger communities and improved life chances. The proposed new SEND school will help reduce school journey times for SEND pupils in the Selby area whilst providing a calm and safe environment which will make a significant difference to their outcomes.”