The teaching staff at Redhill Primary Academy in Telford, Shropshire do an incredible job in supporting pupils with their wellbeing, however, space at the popular primary school has been lacking for them to be able to provide this service in a private and quiet area. The Friends of Redhill decided to do something about this and have been fundraising for a dedicated building for pastoral care. Little did they know how vital this would become as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Here, Sarah Thompson, PR Officer for the Friends, explains more about the project…
Passion is key
“We have a lovely setting at Redhill – it’s a really positive atmosphere and the supportive environment that the staff create is fantastic for our children”, Sarah says. Everyone was keen to expand the pastoral care provision at the school as Pru McCarney, Chair of the Friends of Redhill explains: “we must… address children's emotional needs, to make them stronger and fitter for the challenges they will face later in life - pastoral care is so important.”
Sarah and the team are pleased to be able to report on the current status of the new building: “we were able to begin laying the foundations in October half term, with the help of our pupils and a local business called GN Groundworks. We’re about to take delivery of the building so have put out a rallying cry to the local community for further support – we’re so grateful for offers of water, heating, lighting and Wi-Fi connection services. Our school is in Tier Two, which means we can have groups of six people at a time come to help. It’s a real team effort!”
Fabulous fundraising frolics
“We are lucky to have a really passionate and innovative team at the Friends of Redhill Primary Academy – in fact we are often referred to as ‘imaginative, creative and a little bit crazy’ but that’s fine by us!” Long before
coronavirus was a household word, Pru, Sarah and the team were using their imagination to come up with fundraising ideas so they could provide a new devoted pastoral care space for the school.
In order to fund the new building, and to provide other exra resources for the school over recent years, there have been a multitude of events at Redhill, as Sarah describes – “we’ve welcomed the National Children’s Circus, hosted a ‘Secrets, Spies and Superheroes’ community event, which celebrated 100 years of GCHQ, and even turned school into Hogwarts for the day to mark the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter book! These have all been really popular, and we’ve found that engaging with ‘national events’ is a great way to increase engagement, both with the school community and the media.”
Redhill has also played host to two festival style events, ‘Redfest’ for Key Stage Two children (also affectionately known as ‘Glastonbury for Kids’) and a winter festival with a fireworks finale. The team also organise regular Valentine, Halloween and Summer Discos along with a Year 6 Prom at the end of summer term.
As well as supporting the new pastoral care building, these events have helped to fund iPads, library books, outdoor furniture, interactive whiteboards, garden storytelling chair, sensory garden and helped with a lease for a school minibus.