This year, our City’s two Oasis Academies were both rated by Ofsted as ‘Good’. The academies were launched in 2008 and both moved into new buildings in 2012. Both academies are performing well and delivering excellent education in the heart of their respective communities.
Ofsted said about Mayfield, ‘The school’s work to support the local community is particularly impressive and embodies the Oasis Community Learning Trust’s objective of "transforming communities". Through the work of "the Hub", senior leaders and the school council oversee a wide range of highly effective community enrichment projects including youth centres, social workers, enterprise challenges, a community allotment, local church activities and charity fundraising. The school is rightly proud of this work and it significantly enriches and extends learning’.
Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill serves a community on the far west of the city. The inspection team noted that the Academy is rapidly improving through strong leadership at all levels, and that student progress is good thanks to their teachers that ‘motivate them to learn and succeed’. One parent told an inspector that ‘there have been many teachers who went beyond what they normally do to support and encourage my son when he found things difficult’.
The partnership between the two academies is at the heart of their improvement strategy, working together to provide excellent education in the heart of the community.
Monsignor Vincent Harvey and Paul Woodman visited Aspers Casino in Stratford in July, meeting with their General Manager, Bea Stevens. Bea explained that the casino is open 24-7 and only closed on Christmas Day. The visit was made in view of the planned super casino build in Southampton scheduled to open in 2021, which will also be run by Aspers. Of particular interest was how the Stratford casino engages with the local community and the chaplaincy team there.
On arrival, messages on TV screens and information about responsible gambling were readily available and gave a good impression of the casino’s commitment to ensure people gambled within their means. The casino has 30,000 visits per week and employs 650 members of staff. Bea said that the Southampton casino would be part of a £450 million port investment that would involve the relocating of the Red Funnel ferry terminal. Bea encouraged us to be part of the CARG (Community Action for Responsible Gaming) when it starts in Southampton, a quarterly meeting where statistics such as numbers of those excluded (self-exclusions and casino-led exclusions) from the casino are shared. The chaplaincy service is proving important for those who have been excluded enabling them to speak to someone independent about their gambling.
Home for Good Southampton used Adoption Sunday on 6 November to promote the need for more adoptive parents and foster carers in Southampton. Over the Autumn, more foster carers from local churches were approved by the local authority.
I heard a provocative question the other day: ‘What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?’
Think about it for a moment … what dreams have you pushed down because of a feeling that it just wouldn’t work? What have you let go because you thought you aren’t good enough? Isn’t it sad that a fear of failure could stop so many possibilities? What is even sadder is that this fear is prevalent among our children and young people.
That is why I am so excited about the opportunity to be part of starting a new school at the heart of Southampton. At Hope School, ‘failure’ will not be in our vocabulary. Instead, we will see difficulties, problems and challenges as exciting opportunities. We will be known as a school that produces solution seekers and innovative problem solvers.
Over 100 families have already expressed interest in sending their children to Hope School and there is a real buzz of excitement about being part of something new. Our family liaison officer, along with volunteers from local churches, has worked tirelessly to make links with local families. During monthly community play events about 80 families have enjoyed meeting together and discussing their hopes for the new school.
What parents have seemed most excited about has been the combination of the school’s aim to put Christian values into practice, the vision of creating children who are community pioneers and the passion we have for including parents in every step of their child’s education. Because of our links with local businesses, churches and charities, parents can see the opportunities available for their children and are amazed at how many local people are already committed to supporting their child’s education.
I am thrilled at the chance to be involved in adding to the already outstanding educational provision in Southampton and I believe that, with the huge support of so many passionate people, Hope Community School will produce children who are unafraid to step out and make a difference - they will become the movers, shakers and ground breakers of their generation.
Principal, Hope Community School
Love Southampton has facilitated conversations between Southampton Community Playlink and Southampton City Council with the aim of supporting families with young children across the city. Southampton Community Playlink has long provided resources and support for child minders and toddler groups, as well as running toy libraries across the city. Evidence clearly shows that early childhood is an important time and that the right input and support early on can have a massive impact on a child’s life chances.
To this end, Community Playlink has recently recruited a part time Project Worker to enable it to further develop its links with toddler groups and families across the city. With Love Southampton, Community Playlink will be exploring how to develop further opportunities to work with both the council and other organisations across the city, for the benefit of young families.