My name is Harry French and I am very proud
to be the Head Teacher here at Greenwood Academy. The first step in our journey towards opening
and creating our map of provision for the community was to really establish what was
already available in the area and to try and work out what people were paying and if they
were happy with the services that were available and that really showed up a lack of facilities
within the community and accessed by the community. So our real plan to begin with was to start
small and scale up and to grow ourselves into a place were it could become sustainable,
perhaps opening for four or maybe five days a week. As I have said in the past, it wasn’t just about sports. We found that other community groups really wanted to use our facilities, such as our school hall and the production
facilities that we have here at the Academy, so we were very keen to scale up quite quickly.
One of the things that we found truly advantageous to our community were the new groups that
wanted to use our facilities. I’ll just give you one example of trampolining.
We have some amazing trampolines here, we bought them many years ago, we never had a
specialist teacher who could show the young people how to really trampoline to a high
degree, to a high level, so we were delighted when a trampolining club came forward and
said ‘can w e use your facilities’ ? ‘of course you can use our facilities, we
would be delighted’ [we said]. What that means for us now is that young people
stay on [at school] and take advantage of the extra-curricular opportunities that are
here. They stay within the school for a longer period of time as they are now part of the
clubs and that’s a great opportunity for all our young people There are numerous volunteers, there are people who give their time freely to support and work within our school. We have employed several of our sixth formers
to work within the community lettings. We’re hoping in the future, to offer some apprenticeships and some genuine work experience opportunities for our young people and other people within
the Castle Vale Community [local area]. We know this offers a real win win for ourselves
and the community. This isn’t about profit, its about opportunity, its about establishing
this school at the very heart of the community. For our children’s parents it’s a chance
to step across our threshold and realize how fantastic this school is.
Community lettings really underlines the ethos that we are establishing here at Greenwood
Academy, it’s a way of adding value, adding value to our students, but also adding value
to our wider community.