Samworth Church Academy welcomed a visit by Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield, to celebrate the launch of a new voluntary contribution scheme called the Academy+ Fund.
The aims of Academy+ Fund are to raise additional finance to enhance and broaden the educational opportunities and character education the academy provides for its students, said Lisa McVeigh, Principal of The Samworth Church Academy. “We are really passionate about character as well as academic development at Samworth Church Academy. But to continue to do this to the level and standard we want for our students, we need to put additional support in place. Our aims are to provide more for students than the standard education concepts and budgets in the UK allow.
“Each year the Department for Education sends us an amount of money per child which is used for the running of the Academy. Whilst these funds cover our basic operating costs, it does not allow us to fund the student character development work our Academy is known for. That work promotes the resilience and robustness of our children, preparing and enabling them to cope with the knocks of modern life.”
The Academy+ Fund will be entirely voluntary, and will aim to attract funds of any size, big or small, from the school community, former students, local businesses and suppliers, as well as charities who specialise in funding projects for young people.
Lisa says that this is the first time the academy has set up such a fundraising initiative, “We have never directly asked for help with funding for our Academy, but for us to do what we think is necessary for our children we need to be imaginative. For our parents it should be clear that any donation is entirely voluntary. Should they feel that they can contribute, no matter how small the amount, we can assure them that their support will go towards providing our children with the additional experiences and opportunities that are rarely to be found within the state model. Whether parents decide to donate or not, they will be treated with the utmost respect and in the strictest confidence.”
The academy plans to update donors on a regular basis, demonstrating how and where the funds are being used to support students.
During his visit, Ben Bradley MP discussed the academy’s plans with Principal, Lisa McVeigh and Chair of Governors, Mr Nick Linney.
Ben Bradley MP said, “I think the Academy+ Fund is a wonderful idea. It has always been very clear to me that a school has to be about helping young people out of the box, and not trying to force them into boxes they may or may not fit into. The broader the range of experience that young people have, the more likely they are to grow into resilient and independent adults.
“So actually, it is really refreshing to see a school that is not saying what they can’t do, -but is saying they can and will do. Not only that, but they are willing to drive that effort themselves, and get the resources they need to achieve that. I am hugely supportive of it. The best way we can help young people from Mansfield to have a fair shot and a fair opportunity in life is to make sure they get the full breadth and range of education and experiences that they possibly can.”
Nick Linney is Chair of Governors and he said, “At Samworth Church Academy it is one of our dreams to teach young people resilience and character strength. The Academy+ Fund will enable us to embark on new projects and to continue the work we are doing on character strength, delivering our ambition to prepare students for 70+ great years when they leave the Academy.”
Students who attended the meeting and welcomed Ben Bradley MP on his visit said they look forward to making the most of the opportunities to come.
The academy is already running projects providing the broader education it aims to support through the Academy+ Fund in future. ‘Project Can Do @TSCA’ is underway with twenty year 10 students participating in a 14-week course designed to teach skills needed for the world of work, finding out how businesses work, what they look for in successful candidates, whilst supporting students to learn more about their own talents and interests.
Another is ‘Project Flavour’; designed to promote and improve the health and wellbeing of young people by encouraging a greater understanding and passion for cooking, food and nutrition. Project Flavour uses a combination of hands-on learning and tasting of foods, carried out in the Academy’s extensive professional catering suite, and will also include visits to commercial and artisan producers in a wide-ranging study of the ‘food to table’ journey. The course will also empower students with the facts and practical skills to enrich their own lives through a passion for balanced nutrition and enjoyment of good food.