Space to talk and thrive celebrated at Bath school
Lansdown Park Rush Hill Academy celebrated a £100,000 investment by Bath & North East Somerset Council to improve classrooms and equipment as the school year closed last week.
The school was officially opened in January 2019 to educate and improve the life chances of young people from the Bath area who have been excluded from their secondary school, or are at risk of exclusion.
Based in the former Bath Community College the academy, run by Learn@ Multi-Academy Trust (MAT), now has an additional and renovated wing and improved outdoor spaces for sport and conversation. Renovations include two light and airy classrooms, a library and study area, indoor activity space for sport and new student toilets.
Learn@ MAT aims for zero exclusions from its schools so has developed nurture rooms for students to have quiet space to communicate freely and in confidence. This helps staff understand their needs so they can remove barriers to learning and boost emotional development.
Cllr Kevin Guy joined staff and students on Thursday 16th July to tour the new classrooms and hear about how 25 students successfully returned to mainstream schools this year and the destinations of other students to study animal care, barbering, mechanics and childcare.
Lansdown Park Academy Rush Hill has places for up to 20 students, from Years 7 to 11 works with partner organisations such as Empire Fighting Chance, Off the Record, Bath Community Farm and Rocksteady to provide a broad and balanced curriculum and offer progression to further education. The school employs specialist teachers and support staff with experience in working with young people with social, emotional or mental health needs. From September the school will have places for 32 students.
Lansdown Park Rush Hill Academy Assistant Headteacher Zoe Jenkins said: “We are now in a much better position to provide more individual learning and care. Part of the refurbishment was a dedicated ‘Thrive’ room that feels safe and calm to offer a social and emotional development approach for individual students. We also have more opportunity to provide life skills and careers support with a new food technology kitchen.
Students spend a fixed amount of time with us before either going back to a mainstream school or on to a college course so I’m delighted that we have facilities that helps us engage and that shows we value them.”
Jake in Y10 said: “It will be brilliant to have more space to move around in. The light and size of the rooms will make a big difference to being able to work. The new library space will mean more learning opportunities and more space means that we can learn through experiments and more active activities not just books and writing. I am looking forward to it being open.”
Anthony in Y10 added: “It will be better in the new part because the Y11s won’t be with the younger students. The indoor activity hall will allow us to have own space if we need a break and I am looking forward to there being a punch bag for working out my frustrations. The outside is better too as we can have our breaks out there in comfort.”
Councillor Kevin Guy, cabinet member for Children’s Services at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “We want the best for every child and young person in the district so I was delighted to view these new facilities which will ultimately help improve the students’ life chances. We continue to invest in schools so that they are fit for 21st century learning and teaching, which is important in a specialised academy like this to support children’s development now and help them make a positive contribution in the future.”