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

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 famous Olympic ski jumper and celebrity landed in Teesside this week (Monday 4 July) to help inspire teachers and education bosses.

Michael David Edwards, better known as ‘Eddie the Eagle’, was Guest Speaker at Ad Astra Academy Trust’s Festival of Education 2022 Conference at Teesside University, Middlesbrough.

Edwards rose to fame in 1988 when he became the first British ski jumper to appear in the Winter Olympics for over 60 years.

Despite finishing last, Edwards won the hearts of the nation for his effort and commitment, earning him celebrity status. He went on to carve out a successful career and in 2016 his life story was portrayed in the biographical film, Eddie the Eagle.

Over 200 delegates attended the annual event which has not been held for three years due to the pandemic.

Andy Brown OBE, Chief Executive Officer of Ad Astra Academy Trust, said: “The theme for this year’s event was that you don’t need to be perfect to be a good teacher or education leader and Eddie the Eagle is a brilliant example of how you can be successful without being at the top of your game.

“The whole ethos throughout Ad Astra and across our eight schools is that we work hard to create a togetherness so that staff can learn from one another and support each other.

“We don’t expect staff to have all the answers and never make mistakes. We want them to learn from their failures as much as their successes.”

Eddie the Eagle told delegates that from the age of 13, when he started skiing, it was his dream to compete in the Winter Olympics.

He added: It was through determination, resilience, and perseverance that I made it to the Olympics – all traits that are vital to teachers and those working in education.

“If you have a dream, you have to hold on to it and you’ll get there.”

Andy Brown also spoke at the event which was being chaired by BBC Radio Tees presenter Rachel Teate.

Another key speaker was Andrew Hammond, brother of former Top Gear co-host Richard Hammond. Andrew is a headteacher and author of several children’s books.

Chris Simmons, chair of the Ad Astra trustees gave a vote of thanks at the end. He said: “Schools are at the centre of communities, and I want to thank you all for your hard work.

“You fly the flag for our children. You love them, you teach them, you care for them, and you play a huge part in shaping their lives.”

Just under £450 was raised during the day for the Russ Devereux Headlight Project – a charity providing mental health support.

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.

Eighty-six per cent of its schools are judged by Ofsted to be either “outstanding” or “good”.

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

Eddie the Eagle and Andy Brown video

https://www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk/news/people/real-team-effort-as-hartlepool-school-earns-prestigious-arts-award-3687716

 

We are very proud of our employees and we believe by working for Ad Astra Academy Trust that employees thrive.

Please watch the video below to find out what some of our employees and pupils say, and begin the first steps to a career in Ad Astra where you too can make a difference.

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.