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Sir Richard Branson ‘very proud’ of Priory link

photo 300x225 Sir Richard Branson very proud of Priory link

Sir Richard Branson Centre

SIR Richard Branson says he is honoured to have a new learning centre at Priory Community School named after him.

The Academy Trust has officially named their support-to-learn centre after the self-made tycoon because of his incredible business successes despite having dyslexia and poor academic performance as a child.

The school is building the £1.4M Sir Richard Branson Centre to inspire thousands of students to achieve their dreams.

Other people mentioned on Priory’s ‘list of inspirational figures’ include Sir Winston Churchill, who had a speech impediment, Einstein, who had learning difficulties, and Joss Stone who had dyslexia.

Sir Richard said this week: “Very proud that Priory Community School have named their support-to-learn centre after me. Education is very important, and having the right environment to learn is vital.

“Thinking differently has helped to shape the Virgin Group. Hopefully this new centre can help more young people find their own ways of thinking and new routes to success.

“I see you have also named Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill among the figures to inspire students, and I wholeheartedly agree – they still inspire me today.

“Thank you very much for this wonderful honour, and I hope to hear much more from Priory Community School graduates going on to achieve great things in the future.

Priory Community School has become one of the best schools in the nation and its free school meals students are also achieving UK-record-breaking results.

Principal Neville Coles said: “Sir Richard Branson is one of Britain’s biggest success figures of the last 50 years, and living proof that children can overcome difficulties to achieve outstanding success in life.

“We want all our students to dare to dream big, and to believe that all things are possible.”

Sir Richard Branson the inspiration for new learning centre

photo 300x225 Sir Richard Branson the inspiration for new learning centreIt has been revealed that Priory Community School is building a £1.4M Sir Richard Branson Centre to inspire thousands of students to achieve their dreams.

The Academy Trust has officially named their support-to-learn centre after the self-made tycoon because of his incredible business successes despite having dyslexia and poor academic performance as a child.

Other people mentioned on Priory’s ‘list of inspirational figures’ include Sir Winston Churchill, who had a speech impediment, Einstein, who had learning difficulties, and Joss Stone who had dyslexia.

Priory Community School has become one of the best schools in the nation and its free school meals students are also achieving UK-record-breaking results. It is also now an independent Academy Trust after coming away from Local Education Authority control.

Principal Neville Coles said: “Sir Richard Branson is one of Britain’s biggest success figures of the last 50 years, and living proof that children can overcome difficulties to achieve outstanding success in life.

“We want all our students to dare to dream big, and to believe that all things are possible.”

Eduction and enterprise- Weston success stories

Neville copy Eduction and enterprise  Weston success stories

Neville Coles

In his latest column for the Weston & North Somerset Echo, Priory Community School’s Principal Neville Coles discusses education and enterprise in the region.

I haven’t got much time for negative comments about Weston-super-Mare. I think it’s a great place to live and work.

I’m biased I know, as I have lived in Somerset for most of my life. In recent years we have seen sparks of regular positive news of the town and the area start to come alive.

The new Grand Pier, building developments, and tourism getting a boost are all welcome changes. It’s great that our own MP is the Minister for Tourism.

John Penrose was very supportive of us at Priory (PCSA) when we became a high-performing converter Academy Trust last year.
We were delighted to now receive news that the students at PCSA have become the best performers in the South West for sustained ‘five year’ improvement.

Some 84% of our final year students (Year 11) left us with a C+ in English last year and 72% did so in maths – while in 2006 this was only 34%. Science achieved 94% C+ grades in 2011.

We have a phrase with staff and students about being ‘contagiously optimistic’ and we are absolutely relentless with standards.

These results brought a congratulatory personal letter from the Schools Minister to the students and the staff. So, there is a lot of great academic achievement in the WSM schools.

Of course there here are many individual success stories right here in Weston that have nothing to do with exams.
We have three students with us who we think will be future Olympians Lele (Judo), Taryn (football and athletics) and Tara (equestrianism).

Tom in Year 10 is carrying the Olympic torch on the way to the London games. What a great memory he will always hold from that event.

Students at PCSA have also raised £15K for charity over recent years and they have repainted the local underpasses in North Worle.

So, amid some negative stories about young people I can vouch for the fact that the vast majority of the young people we see have great attitudes and great hearts to do good.

I only see a positive future for WSM.

In the 10 years I have been here we have had thousands of children through PCSA. They are our future, and it’s a bright one.

To find out more about Priory Community Schools visit: http://www.priory.n-somerset.sch.uk/index.shtml

New community partnership

Priory School logo 300x210 New community partnershipA new partnership between Priory Community School – an Academy Trust – and a thriving new health centre is being launched.

Around 12 Priory Community School students will design a confidential health questionnaire for all 1,200 students in partnership with the new St Georges Health Centre based across the road in Pastures Avenue.

The aim of the on-going partnership is to see an improvement in health and health awareness issues of students and even their parents.

St Georges Health Centre is now fully open and taking new patients in Pastures Avenue opposite PCSA behind the Magistrates’ Court. This new project is an attempt to partner to improve health in the community.

Practice Manager Steve Edwards said the partnership will involve youngsters visiting the health centre to chat to doctors and experts.

He said: “We are trying to do health awareness and work in new ways which is far more pro-active on healthcare than attempting to solve problems when they arise.
“We are keen to change the health lifestyles of the community.”

Students involved in the partnership will also often be exploring future careers in healthcare as doctors, nurses or in other related avenues.

PCSA’s ‘Student Voice’ co-ordinator Julie Finlayson said: “Priory students are remarkably innovative and love the whole idea of investigating data and coming up with solutions.”

For more information on the health centre call at their base or Telephone 01934 527681.

New health centre making connections

New health centre1 New health centre making connectionsA new family friendly health centre is busy making connections with children and families across fast-growing estates in Weston and Worle.

The newly opened St Georges Health Centre, just behind the Magistrates’ Court in North Worle, is looking to partner with dozens of children’s centres, nurseries, pre-schools and schools in the area.

The state-of-the-art Health Centre opened this month to help the area cope with a soaring local population and to provide family-friendly facilities for thousands of new families.

Now the centre is looking to partner with all local schools and places where children and families attend to carry out fun activities to make children and parents aware of health eating and lifestyles.

Schools and centres they are in discussion with at the moment include Priory Community School – an Academy Trust, St Georges’ Primary School and Castlebatch Community Centre.

Practice Manager Steve Edwards said: “We are trying to do things in new ways at the health centre. We cater for all ages but we are very family friendly and we want to form connections with all local centres that serve children and families.

“If anyone runs family services in the area I would encourage them to get in touch.”

The new health centre is proving very popular because of its 21st century style and extended opening times.

The centre is open to 6.30pm on Mondays and Fridays, and to 7.30pm on Tuesday and Wednesdays, and from 9am till 12noon on Saturdays.

Parents delighted at news of new 4-16 school plans

Priory School logo Parents delighted at news of new 4 16 school plansParents have been expressing their delight at the planned development of a new 4-16 ‘all-through’ school – with just days to go before parents select their chosen primary school.

Priory Community School is set to become one of the first 4-16 schools in the country this September after having a £1million provisional funding allocation to start a new primary school.

Parents can apply via North Somerset Council up until Sunday (15) January this month.

Parent Dorece Hunter, who has three young children, said: “This is just the type of great news this area needs with a fast growing population. A school that takes children all the way through from Primary to their GCSEs makes excellence sense, especially a high performing school such as Priory.”

Plans are for the Academy Trust to make the Priory Primary phase equally as successful as the high-performing secondary school with a ‘children first’ culture and small class sizes.

Initially the plans are for the school to host 30 reception-aged children in a revamped sixth form block, and it will be for ‘all through’ education from Reception through to age 16.

By September 2013 it is hoped a new £4million state-of-the-art primary school will be built.

Parents sending their children to the primary phase will get automatic placement for their children at the 11-16 Academy Trust secondary phase, a school oversubscribed and one of the best performing in the country.

School leaders are now negotiating to secure the millions from Central Government needed to build the new school. PCSA is responding to community need in providing the new school.

Prospective parents are still able to contact the school for information and tours by contacting Tania on 01934 511411.

New modern health centre in time for New Year

New health centre1 New modern health centre in time for New Year

People can start registering now for St Georges Health Centre in Pastures Avenue near the North Worle Magistrates’ Courthouse and Priory Community School.

The centre has 21st century facilities, a new team and same day consultations for residents of North Worle, St Georges, West Wick and all new estates built in recent years.

The health centre will offer extended opening hours – to 6.30pm on Mondays and Fridays, and to 7.30pm on Tuesday and Wednesdays. It will also be open from 9am till 12noon on Saturdays.

The new Health Centre has been commissioned by NHS North Somerset and the surgery will be run by Malling Health limited, in response to one of the fastest growing populations in Europe.

Demand from patients for surgery facilities has seen some local surgeries busting at the seams and this new surgery has been designed to accommodate between six and ten thousand patients.

Practice Manager Steve Edwards said: “This is an exciting time for thousands of residents and families. The facilities are cutting-edge, modern, technological and bright, and our staff are very well trained, friendly, and helpful.

“The surgery aim to will provide modern facilities, longer opening hours including Saturdays and same day consultations.

“We also plan innovative, unique ways of working and partnering with the community which we will be unveiling in future weeks.”

Resident Adam Maxwell who moved into The Grange, West Wick this week and was one of the first to register at the health centre, said: “This is so much needed. I loved the idea of new extended opening times and Saturdays will suit me for appointments with my busy working life during the weekdays.”

The health centre accommodates four new GP consulting rooms, a number of treatment areas and a new GP training facility at the two-floor building.

The new surgery can be contacted on 01934 527681.

Student wins Christmas competition judged by Weston MP

Priory School logo 300x210 Student wins Christmas competition judged by Weston MPA student at Priory Community School is dreaming of a career as an artist after creating the winning design in a Christmas card art competition – her third success in Christmas card competitions in recent years.

Kayleigh Phillips, aged 14, beat off 750 primary and secondary school students across Weston and Worle to win a Christmas Card competition judged by local MP John Penrose.

In the latest competition she won a competition to visit the House of Commons.

It is the third competition to design a Christmas card that she has won in recent years.

She said: “I love art and I am drawing regularly at home, anything from animals to landscapes.

“I would love to become a famous artist or a graphic designer. In school I’m doing Computer Aided Design and learning these skills. I was so excited to discover I had won the competition.”

John Penrose offered schoolchildren the chance to showcase their talents by crafting a festive card for him to send to contacts.

This year’s cards were designed around the theme of Weston’s ‘super’ new seafront.

To find our more about Priory Community School please visit: http://www.priory.n-somerset.sch.uk/index.shtml

Recession beating courses at Academy Trust go down a storm

Academy Trust Recession beating courses at Academy Trust go down a storm

Dorece Hunter (left) with Chantelle Ford (right)

More than 80 adults took up the chance of free learning courses at an Academy Trust this week.

They headed for Priory Community School – an Academy Trust – for a range of courses which started on Monday for anyone aged over 16.

PCSA’s aim is to help people in Weston-super-Mare and North Somerset to develop skills and confidence to tackle the increasingly difficult job market.

Even this week there have been details of increases in unemployment in the area, and a 300 per cent increase in youth unemployment in North Somerset in the last three years.

If the trial is successful this week, Priory hope to expand the adult learning to be a regularly part of their service to the community all year round.

Organiser Chantelle Ford said: “We have been thrilled with the numbers signing up. We hope we can make this a regular part of our calendar.

“We want to help everyone aged over 16 to become more employable, or to develop the confidence to find work.

“It is a difficult time for people generally with the recession. As a high-performing Academy Trust, Priory wants to become a learning centre for all ages.”

Mum of three Dorece Hunter, from Weston super Mare, who has been doing an International Business Management Degree in her evenings as well as bringing up three young children, signed up for an ICT for business skills and sign language courses.

She said: “Courses like this are invaluable for people like me who have been bringing up children but want to develop new skills and get back into the world of work.”

Courses on offer include psychology, French, cookery, presentation skills and ICT for business skills, Japanese, Italian and employability skills, and more

Students to be mentored by businessmen and barristers

Priory School logo 300x210 Students to be mentored by businessmen and barristersPriory Community School – an Academy Trust – is planning an innovative mentoring scheme for industry experts to mentor students via Skype live from their offices.

The first such scheme of its type could see businessmen, barristers, solicitors, doctors and other professionals talking to 14 and 15 year olds via Skype video phone calls to inspire and educate them about the world of work.

It’s part of a package of measures Priory Community School are working on to develop students during their school years to be ready for the world of work. With youth unemployment standing at one in five 16 to 25 year olds – the worst figures on record – young people are now facing unprecedented situations to find work.

And despite many schools cutting the Connexions service, PSCA as an Academy are expanding their careers work.

Priory now want to explore innovative ways to bridge the gap between school and work – building on the back of exam results which are in the top 6 per cent in the country.

Jane McBride, head of year 11, said: “The idea is for the likes of a doctor to inspire a teenager to want to become a doctor of the future. They could mentor them live on Skype for 20 minutes or so at the start of a day now and again.

“This would form links with the community, the world of work, and also give students confidence and the thought of someone in their dream job cheering them on.”

In another part of the scheme, later this month, Head of Careers Liz Davis will oversee a scheme in which local success stories in industries will inspire students in Period 6 lessons at 3pm. Senior police, a barrister and business bosses are among those inspiring the students.

Liz said: “Priory is among the top few per cent of schools in the country for GCSE Maths and English which is very important but we also recognize that it takes more than just academic achievement to succeed in life.

“We want to develop school leavers who are confident, responsible, ambitious and fully capable of achieving their goals within their chosen career area.

“A major way of supporting this is to bring in tremendously successful local professionals and experts in their field to tell the students their personal story for success and what it takes to work in the various professions. It will be a lot of encouragement with a dose of reality, and this will enable students to be better informed when making their Post 16 option choices.

“We want our students to be totally prepared for joining the workforce of the future.

“Our exam results are outstanding and among the best in the nation. Yet we want to develop the whole person and prepare them to be outstanding in the workplace.

“Priory aims to encourage students that they can pursue their dreams and become the best they can be in what they love doing. Mentoring is just a part of that.”

Any business leader or local successful person wanting to inspire groups of youngsters is asked to contact Liz on 01934 511411. To find out more about priory school visit: http://www.priory.n-somerset.sch.uk/index.shtml