COVID-19: Lockdown's forgotten children and the teams offering a lifeline to those missing their education
This week, Greenwood Academies Trust and FareShare Midlands announced a ground-breaking partnership that is set to provide much needed, and urgent, support to families facing food poverty.
Working together, the Trust, which runs 36 academies across the Midlands, and FareShare Midlands, a food poverty charity, are looking to develop long-term, sustainable solutions, tailored to each communities unique circumstances, ensuring the families most in need of access to food are able to get the support they need.
This support will be rolled out across the academies throughout the coming year, but this week the Trust has begun signposting local organisations which can provide its families with the surplus food sourced by FareShare Midlands.
Greenwood Academies Trust and FareShare Midlands are also working with another key partner, Open Kitchens, on an exciting pilot, a food delivery service initially for four of the Trust’s academies in Nottingham. These academies are identifying families who could benefit from food assistance, and then delivering food to their front door, coordinated through an app developed by Open Kitchens, which allows volunteer drivers within the Trust to make the delivery. Over the past couple of weeks, an incredible one ton of food has already been distributed.
Funding for this initiative is being kick-started with an initial £50,000 from FareShare Midlands and Greenwood Academies Trust and will be supplemented by a voluntary salary sacrifice scheme that will be supported by many staff across the Trust - with every pound raised paying for the distribution of four meals.
The Trust has 34% of families eligible for Free School Meals support, significantly above the national average of 17%. However, it estimates that up to a further 30% of the Trust’s pupils are families that are also financially struggling but don’t qualify for this support.
FareShare Midlands has also seen demand for food continue to skyrocket since the onset of the pandemic, with financial hardship causing thousands of people to struggle with putting food on the table. In fact, between 1st April 2019 to 30th June 2019, it delivered 1,765,000 meals in comparison to the 3,207,500 meals that were delivered during the same period this year.
Wayne Norrie, Chief Executive, Greenwood Academies Trust, said:
“At Greenwood Academies Trust, we work tirelessly to do everything we can to support our pupils, their families and the communities we serve.
“As a Trust, we serve a high proportion of disadvantaged families and know, first-hand, the extent of some parents’ struggles to support their families during what has been an incredibly difficult year. We have seen how the challenges of food poverty have become even more widespread across our community this year, and are proud to partner with FareShare Midlands to develop long-term, sustainable solutions that will make a profound difference in peoples’ lives.”
Simone Connolly, Director, FareShare Midlands, said:
“FareShare Midlands is delighted to be working with Greenwood Academies Trust on a range of solutions that aim to ensure that no child goes hungry outside of the school gate.
“The pandemic has very sadly pushed more and more people into poverty and will continue to do so as the economic downturn takes hold. Thousands more will lose their jobs and children will suffer as a result. Ahead of us is a long and difficult road, but we stand united in our commitment to supporting those children and families that find themselves in, or falling into, the tangled web of poverty that is so often very difficult to get out of.”
Adam Roberts, Founder and CEO, Open Kitchens, said:
“Open Kitchens is delighted to be working with Greenwood Academies Trust and FareShare Midlands on this fantastic project which will make such a difference to so many families.
“We are working hard to test and develop our logistics and driver technology in order to develop the system to a level which will enable us all to make a big impact on so many children, with eventual rollout across all of GAT’s 36 academies.”
To further bolster this initiative, the Trust is seeking more partners who may be interested in supporting these efforts, whether through the provision of surplus food or through financial donations that will help facilitate the distribution of food.
For further details on supporting this project, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The site purchase for a new local school, Waterside Primary Academy, has been officially completed by the Department for Education (DfE) and the local housing developer Blueprint, which will support Greenwood Academies Trust’s plans to open a new free school serving families across the Trent Basin waterside neighbourhood in Nottingham.
This follows earlier approval from the Department for Education for the Trust to proceed to the free school ‘pre-opening phase’ for a new local primary school with nursery, and planning approval from Nottingham City Council to provide a new access road serving the site.
This acquisition is an exciting milestone for the development of the new school, with design and construction work due to start next year. It follows The Trust will be working closely with the DfE and their technical advisors, Turner & Townsend, to create a programme for the development.
Additionally, this project will also provide valuable work experience for pupils at Nottingham Girls’ Academy, also sponsored by the Trust, who will have the opportunity to engage with all aspects of the design and construction of the new school development, further helping prepare them for the world of work.
Wayne Norrie, CEO of Greenwood Academies Trust, said:
“We are delighted that plans are progressing with this new free school, Waterside Primary Academy, and now that the site acquisition has been completed, we are excited to work alongside our partners at the DfE, Blueprint and Nottingham City Council during the next stages of development.
“As a Trust, we are committed to delivering the best possible education for children and young people in the communities we serve, and we look forward to supporting the community of Trent Basin in Nottingham with this new free school.”
Councillor David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council and Portfolio Holder for Schools, said:
“We welcome this latest development which builds on our efforts to ensure we have enough school places to meet demand in Nottingham, and that every child and young person has access to the very best facilities to help them reach their full potential.
“There was a long-held ambition to develop the Trent Basin area into a new sustainable community linked to the city centre and to Sneinton. This is an important step in supporting its creation and delivering the Council’s regeneration plans for the area.
“We included a school in our plans along with other features, such as transport links and high-quality homes. These proposals provide that and help to boost the viability of further development of the area.”
Sam Veal, Chief Executive of Blueprint, said:
“Blueprint is delighted to have helped facilitate this fantastic new school, working closely with Greenwood Academies Trust and the DfE.
“Waterside Primary Academy will be a fantastic asset for the City, supporting young families within the growing neighbourhood at Trent Basin and the wider Waterside area; we look forward to welcoming them into the community."
Greenwood Academies Trust is today celebrating the completion of a new unit at Nethergate Academy in Clifton, Nottingham.
The new £2.2m unit, which expands special educational needs (SEND) provision for Nottingham City pupils, has been funded by Nottingham City Council and will accommodate an additional 48 pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorder when the academy reopens on 7th September 2020.
For further information please see the press release below.
Today, a new school, The Wells Academy, is opening its doors to Nottingham pupils for the first time.
The Academy, sponsored by Greenwood Academies Trust, is located in the Mapperley area of Nottingham and will provide an enriching educational experience for pupils in years 11-16.
For further information, please see the press release below.
As part of the closure transition plan, the Academy was scheduled to move into the adjacent former UTC building in September 2020. Unfortunately, due to the issues that Covid-19 have presented us with, we have been unable to visit the UTC and prepare the building to be equipped for the Academy opening in September; therefore we will continue within our current setting. We will, of course, update everyone on the plans to move to the UTC as soon as we have any information to share. Please find below a copy of the letter that has been sent out to parents.
The Secretary of State for Education, in mutual agreement with Greenwood Academies Trust (GAT), has now given final approval for the closure transition plan of Houghton Regis Academy. This follows the substantive and final decision taken in February to proceed to closure of the Academy. From September 2020, the Academy will become a Key Stage 3 only provision until closure.
In order to minimise the impact of the closure on pupils, parents, staff and the community, and to ensure that any pupils at the Academy, up to closure, have access to a good quality education, the approved closure transition plan will now come into effect. This means the Academy will remain open for some year groups until 31 August 2022, when a new secondary school is due to open in the area. The Trust has also been working closely with Central Bedfordshire Council to secure high-quality school places in the locality for all current year 9 and year 10 pupils to ensure they will receive the best possible education in a fully and appropriately staffed school. Offers will be sent out shortly to these parents.
For further information please see attached:
Academies in GAT will be offering some age groups the opportunity to attend school, in addition to our current key worker and vulnerable pupil provision, from the 8th June.
We have implemented Covid-19 Revised Operating Procedures and Risk Assessments in close consultation with staff and will continue to follow the Government Guidance closely to ensure our staff and pupils remain safe.
Each academy will have individualised arrangements according to their site and staffing capacity. Each academy will be communicating directly with their parents, carers and relevant stakeholders. Visit specific academy websites for further details.
Please find below a copy of the report that has been compiled following the responses received on the proposed closure transition plan during the listening period at Houghton Regis Academy.
This note confirms the arrangements for the continued provision of supermarket vouchers to parents/carers whose child normally receives a free school meal (note this does not relate to pupils in receipt of universal infant free school meals).
Following the government announcement this past weekend (04.04.2020) our academies will be working to get vouchers out to eligible families for the two week Easter period.
Your academy will send you an email or text message with an ‘eCode’ which will enable you to choose an eGift-card from the range of supermarkets below. Together with the eCode will be some instructions on how to generate your eGift-card.
The voucher can then be presented on a smartphone or tablet at the supermarket checkout.
If you have any further questions please contact your child's academy directly.
Thank you for the responses received during the listening period. Please note that the listening period has now closed.
The Trust will now consider the representations made on the proposed closure plan before finalising the closure transition plan.
We will continue to work closely with Central Bedfordshire and the Department for Education to minimise any disruption to pupils, families and staff as much as possible.