New school partnership widens opportunities

THE leader of a new partnership between two primary schools says it is already having a positive impact both on and off the curriculum.

The ‘Primary Excellence Partnership’ between Blackhorse Primary School and Emersons Green Primary School was formed last September, with former Blackhorse head teacher Simon Botten taking over as executive head teacher of both schools.

The partnership saw the schools working together to improve reading, maths and the wider curriculum through joint training and other link-ups.

But it has also widened the opportunities available to children at both schools by sharing access to specialisms for children.

Mr Botten said the effects started with Blackhorse helping Emersons Green get a place at the difficult to enter Collegiate Cross-country competition, an inter-county athletics event for schools over a 1.5 mile course.

While the Blackhorse Year 3 and 4 boys won individual gold and silver medals and a team silver medal, and their Year 5 and 6 boys won their team event, runners from Emersons Green were inspired to start their own cross-country club, and now train with the Blackhorse squad throughout the summer.

The schools then shared performances of music and arts, with the Emersons Green choir performing a mini-concert to all 420 Blackhorse pupils.

In return, all 210 children from Emersons Green were invited to a special performance of Matilda the Musical performed by Blackhorse’s Musical Theatre group, which had won a prize at the Thornbury Eisteddfod the previous week, with soloist Lola John, who played Matilda, winning an award for the highest-scoring performance in any category.

Mr Botten said: “Having been wowed by the ‘professional’ Matilda set (bought by Blackhorse from Bristol Met secondary school), Emersons now plan to put on their own production of the musical using the set in July and have invited Blackhorse to a ‘return leg’ of the show!

“Originally we expected that the main collaborations would be between the staff and, although this has certainly been the case, we are delighted at how enthusiastically the children have taken to the new partnership.

“It is great to see the children from both schools forging new friendships and spurring each other on to excel in a whole host of areas.”

Future link-ups planned include an inter-school chess contest and a joint school trip to the Natural History Museum.  

Next academic year the schools will become founding members of a new 13-primary school Multi-Academy Trust called the Leaf Trust, which will also include nearby Stanbridge, Tynings, Kings Forest, Staple Hill and Mangotsfield primary schools.