News & Media

Future of the University of Chester Academies Trust (UCAT) and ongoing arrangements for your schoo - 28/06/2018

Dear Parents and Carers, Future of the University of Chester Academies Trust (UCAT) – and ongoing arrangements for your school. You may be aware that UCAT has seven schools; two schools are rated Good by Ofsted, three Require Improvement and two are in the Inadequate category. The Trust and the Department for Education (DfE) had already agreed earlier this year to ‘re-broker’ (transfer) four of its schools to other academy trusts. Following the more recent agreement with the DfE to re-broker the University Church of England Academy in Ellesmere Port, the largest school in the Trust, UCAT’s board has taken the decision that the Trust cannot continue to operate financially with only two schools. It has therefore asked the DfE to re-broker all its schools, before the Trust formally winds up its activities. The overriding focus for UCAT has always been about doing what is best to improve the education and life chances of all children in all the schools and to support local communities. UCAT’s recently reconfigured Board, having established an overview, needed to plan the best way forward for the future; and have therefore reached a view that the Trust cannot continue. We are working closely with the Department for Education, to ensure that a new trust is found as quickly as possible, to assume overall responsibility for your school. Once this has been agreed, we expect to work closely with the incoming group, to make the transition as smooth as possible and ensure that your school continues to thrive and improve. Please be assured that until any transfer is successfully completed we will continue to work to improve the opportunities and achievements for all pupils in all UCAT schools and, as ever, we value your input as parents and carers and that of the wider community. If you have any specific questions regarding your child’s education in the first instance please contact your Principal or Head of School, who has day-to-day oversight of the school. David Cumberland Chief Executive Officer University of Chester Academies Trust

Young UAW librarians board the Book Bus at Beamont Collegiate Academy - 27/06/2018

Tuesday 26 June 2018 was an exciting day for the library team at UAW as they travelled to Beamont Collegiate Academy in Warrington. Students had the opportunity to network with bookworms from other schools and take part in some fun reading activities before they then started to select which books the new library at UAW would benefit from. Mrs Houghton, Academy Librarian, said: “Our young team of librarians had the chance to meet students from other schools, participate in library based activities and to choose some new books for the school library. We would like to thank Beamont for inviting us for to this wonderful event.” Ajay Ross, a student at the Academy, said: “We had an absolutely fantastic morning at Beamont Academy and it was nice to be able to have such a variety of books to choose from.”

Year 6 pupils from across UCAT graduate with the University of Chester - 21/06/2018

The achievements of Year 6 pupils from across the University of Chester Academies Trust (UCAT) throughout their time at primary school were celebrated at a special graduation ceremony. Tuesday, June 12 marked the end of an era for pupils from University Church Free School (UCFS), University Primary Academy Kidsgrove (UPAK) and University Primary Academy Weaverham (UPAW) as they attended their farewell graduation ceremony at the University of Chester. The day began with a performance from the educational theatre group ‘2Engage’, who deliver a range of interactive arts-based projects. The pupils watched a performance called Moving Up, a play that follows the journey of two primary school leavers who are about to embark on the next steps from primary school to secondary school. The performance aimed to settle some of the anxiety pupils may feel when starting high school, as well as dispelling myths along the way. Pupils were then given the opportunity to hear from University students themselves as they took part in a student-led campus tour. The tour was designed to give pupils an insight into the life at the University of Chester and allowed pupils to ask important questions about studying, accommodation and the on-site facilities available to the students. To celebrate the festivities of the day, pupils worked with the University’s Outreach Team where they were tasked to create their own graduation mortarboard using their own interests and career aspirations. Pupils also had the opportunity to discuss life at university and explored a range of career choices that require a university graduate degree. The children also took part in a Pathways workshop, an engaging session that focused on a pupil’s timetable in secondary school. Pupils were given a school timetable where they were tasked to find their lesson before exploring a range of exciting subjects including Modern Languages, Geography, English, Mathematics and Science. The graduation ceremony took place during the afternoon where pupils dressed in their cap and gown to receive their certificates in front of their parents, families and teachers. The ceremony opened with a welcome from David Cumberland, Chief Executive Officer for UCAT, before receiving their certificates and having their individual graduation photographs taken. Mr Farrington, Principal at UCFS, said: “The Graduation day provided a brilliant opportunity for the children to have a taste of University life. They were delighted to visit the main campus of the University of Chester and the day left them inspired and motivated.” Ruby, Year 6 pupil at UPAK said: “I really enjoyed being part of the Year 6 graduation day at Chester University. I particularly liked having the opportunity to wear graduation robes and a mortarboard just like a real graduate would wear. I also loved the challenge of the math and science activities we took part in” Mrs Maxfield, Teacher at UPAK, said: “This was a great day for the children to take part in. It inspired a number of children to think about their futures and the steps they need to out into place to reach them. We encourage all of the children to reach for the stars.” Kyle, Year 6 pupil at UPAK, said: "I thought it was a great day. This trip has got everyone to think about the future jobs they could have when they leave school. We all learnt what a mortarboard was and I was fascinated by how big the campus was and what there was there. There are lots of opportunities!" Miss Armstrong, KS2 Leader at UPAW said: “The children were given an opportunity to experience a day at university and discover what university life is all about. They particularly enjoyed wearing their caps and gowns during the ceremony.” Luke, Year 6 pupil at UPAK said: “It was fun throwing the mortar boards in the air and we all had a really great day!”

UCEA named Team of the Year 2018 at Cheshire School Awards! - 20/06/2018

Year 10 Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) students at University Church of England Academy (UCEA) are celebrating after being declared Team of The Year at the prestigious Cheshire School Awards. On Tuesday June 19, finalists across four separate categories represented the Academy at the awards, which were held at the Queen Hotel in Chester. The Cheshire Schools Awards, sponsored by Trinity Mirror and Excell Supply, are presented to acknowledge the outstanding achievements within schools across Cheshire. Both primary and secondary schools come together in celebration, sharing their success stories and achievements. UCEA was proud to make the finals in four categories this year: Team of the Year; Support Staff of the Year; Secondary School of the Year and School in the Community. Presenter Dianne Oxley, from BBC North West Tonight, hosted an exciting and uplifting presentation, celebrating the hard work and dedication of schools across the county and the important role teachers play. Students from the Academy cheered on their neighbouring schools and fellow nominees as the winners were revealed. Despite extremely stiff competition in each category, the highlight of the event for the Academy was David Bolam’s STEM Team winning the Team of the Year Award for 2018. The team of Year 10 STEM students have been working closely with University of Chester academics at Thornton Science Park. The goal was to design, build and race a green powered car as part of a competition hosted by Greenpower Education Trust. Later in the year, they will then have the opportunity to race it against other cars from schools all around the country, on a real racetrack. The group has visited the Mechanical Engineering workshops at Thornton once a month, and has made significant progress since the project began in January. The team has been developing the car to make it as efficient as possible, to meet the challenge of ensuring it has the longest endurance. David Bolam, a Teacher of Technology and Engineering at UCEA, said: “I am extremely pleased and honoured to receive this award on behalf of our Year 10 STEM Green-Power Car Challenge Team, led so ably by students Jamie Cavanagh and Marcel Kurcharski. The award is for Best Team or Class in Cheshire and I want to highlight that this was a team effort. Without the full cooperation of all 10 boys, and the support of Mr Ian Dykes, this would not have been possible. In addition, the support from Angela Lupton, Bobby Manesh and their team from the University of Chester, based at Thornton Science Park, has been unwavering. Without their help, expert knowledge and sponsorship this project would not have been possible. I am proud of the team who have come together over the many months and worked so hard to be the best. I feel privileged to be part of the team and although we are proud of the work done so far and of course very pleased to receive this recognition; we feel this is just a start of our journey, as from September we will start racing the car!” Angela Lupton, HE STEM Coordinator at the University of Chester added: “This is excellent news for the school and for the University team supporting them at Thornton Science Park. It’s great to see the students using their science and engineering skills and I’m pleased that their team work in creating this alternative energy motor has been rewarded.”

UCEA Students experience “Pain, Pus & Blood” Workshop - 13/06/2018

During a recent trip to the Thackeray Medical Museum in Leeds, over 40 students studying History in Year 9 and 10 took part in two workshops exploring the gruesome medical procedures which took place during World War 1. Students used the visit to develop their source analysis skills about World War 1. A particular highlight was the “Pain, Pus, and Blood” workshop, where students were even able were able to smell the sensations of an operating theatre during war time and handle some genuine surgery tools, including a guillotine for tonsils! Mrs Pierce-Wilson, a teacher of History, commented: “This provided students with a wonderful opportunity to further their knowledge for the medicine unit of their current GCSE studies. We have had an unique and exciting day to say the least!”

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