The Dales School World Book Day
B4 (Forest) World Book Day Slideshow:
This week we had a visit from Nicola Buckley who works for TransPennine Express. They are an important railway company who run trains all over the UK.
Mrs Collins and Mr Groundwater enjoyed showing Nicola around the train and school.
TransPennine Express will be working with The Dales School as part of our railway safety lessons and in our STEM carriage to help develop career aspirations and life experiences using trains.
We would like to say a big thank you to Nicola and TransPennine Express for their amazing donations that included The Dales School station sign. This was originally the station sign for Huddersfield station and was converted by Alan Conway from Texo.
An official platform sign used on our station:-
Tickets for our Wickes and Blyth Man Shed ticket office:-
Nicola brought us sweets and chocolate for the children and staff:-
As well as keyrings, travel pillows, pens and items to use for railway resources:-
Thank you so much TransPennine Express and Nicola for helping us with our school train. We look forward to showing you around the new STEM carriage when it is complete.
We have received some amazing news this week. Funding from The Harrison Foundation has made it possible to turn our second train carriage into a STEM hub. The Stem hub will be part of the Harrison Foundations Social mobility centres.
The Harrison Foundation partnership will have a major impact helping to target various issues including giving disadvantaged children life skills and opportunities aiming to break the cycle of poverty, using the train as an inspirational setting to learn.
The Dales School in Blyth recently appealed for additional support to transform the second train carriage into a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) room to target early career aspirations with local businesses in ICT, mechanics, architecture and science.
After hearing about the project from Blyth MP Ian Levy, the North-East based Harrison Foundation has stepped in to provide additional funding for the STEM room, which will also be used to teach practical railway safety and independent travel skills for children with special educational needs.
Dr Sue Fisher, headteacher at The Dales School, commented: “The Dales School is extremely proud to be working with the Harrison Foundation, particularly as they have helped so many individuals to gain life experiences, this is something we are passionate about at The Dales School. Their community work aligns within our vision for the STEM carriage. With the Harrison Foundation as our partner, we will be able to achieve our vision and aspirations to benefit and inspire the next generation.”
Harrison Foundation trustee, Daniel Harrison, added: “I’m delighted that the Harrison Foundation is supporting The Dales School and the next phase of this great idea. Our projects come in all shapes and sizes and which school children would not be excited to have a real train in their playground, where they can read and learn? It’s a great idea and one that we’re delighted to support.”
“I’d like to also thank local MP Ian Levy who played a vital role in connecting us with the Dales school and paving the way for the support we’re able to offer this amazing project.”
Blyth Valley MP, Ian Levy, said: “I’ve been really impressed with the ambition of this project and am happy to have been able to help in some small way. The school, and James Groundwater in particular, deserve huge credit for their persistence in making it happen and I’d like to thank all of the organisations and companies who contributed including the Harrison Foundation. It’s great to have such a wonderful facility in Blyth Valley and to see it on the television.”
The Dales School has been featured on George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces. The show followed the conversion of our class 144 Pacer Train.
It took an incredible effort from school staff, particularly our amazing site manager Tom McKinnon, working through the summer holidays to get the train ready for George’s visit.
We were amazed when the community came together to help support the project, with the intention of helping children gain reading skills. Reading skills are so vital and are linked to developing skills to help children out of poverty.
The school received funding from the Laurel Trust and Hargreaves Foundation as well as contributions from Arnold Clark, Barbour, The Port of Blyth, RW Mann Trust and Northern Rail as well as Blyth Council contributing to the haulage cost to deliver the train to school. The project even caught the attention of Henkal, based in Hertfordshire, who donated weatherproofing products. Noel Forte and his team were regular visitors to The Dales School and carried out work on our pacer train, even a faulty compressor couldn’t stop them in their tracks.
Barry Lewis from Henkal
The amazing conversion of the train even comes with its own track donated by Network Rail.
Network Rail volunteers building the track.
It’s own train station, donated and built by the local branch of TEXO, with a lot of support from the amazing Alan Conway.
Alan Conway designing the station.
A ticket office built by local Blyth-based charity Blyth Man Shed and donated by Mercia as part of the Wickes Community Programme.
The train is fitted with a fully working driving simulator to help encourage early career aspirations and to help children with sensory needs to experience the sounds and sights of the railway. The software was kindly donated by Dovetail Games and the simulator was built by our STEM lead John Jennings.
Thank you to Morgan Sindall and Rachel Bateman from NCC and the police cadets for volunteering work that made it possible to move forward with the project. Thanks also to Network rail volunteers lead by Dawn Sweeting who volunteered over the summer holidays.
We can all agree the work paid off and we are very proud of our train. Next stop, funding for our STEM carriage. This will be a place to support pupils with early career aspirations linked with local businesses and also to practically learn railway safety in a joint initiative with Network Rail.
Children from B7 (Sycamore) and B11 (Cedar) were invited to Aln Valley Railway to have a ride on their Polar Express. The snow was falling when they arrived but they were still able to have a look around the engine shed. Thank you to the Aln Valley Railway for a lovely Christmas trip.
Thank you to Northern Rail who is working with The Dales School to help the children experience train travel. The children are developing some fantastic life skills using the Northern Rail trains. We have enjoyed trips to Morpeth and Newcastle by train.
Northern rail invited The Dales School to a special Polar Express train ride on the new Northumberland Line. The children were able to meet Father Christmas on the train and also received books and chocolate from Father Christmas and his elves. Thank you so much to Marie Addison and Paul Henry for the continued support.
We are very proud of the children who took part in the Northumberland line Hoardings day at Ashington Station. It was a very cold day and the children were very professional talking to the press and getting their photo taken for newspapers. We even met the leader of Northumberland County Council Mr Glen Sanderson.
The Children took part in working with a photographer called Lindsey Duncanson as part of the Northumberland line project. We are looking forward to travelling by train as the new stations will include Bedlington and Ashington, based very close to our two schools and Blyth and Ashington. The children asked some fantastic questions to Morgan Sindall who is the company building the new stations.
Some of the children have left us to go on to new schools who are displayed on the hoardings, but it was nice to look back at the fantastic time we had choosing the photographs for Lyndsey. The photographs were from a collection of old steam trains working on the Northumberland line when it was last used in the 1960s, taken by Ken Groundwater and Malcolm Dunnett. (Mr Groundwaters Dad)
This is the links to the newspapers.
Here are a few photos from the day.
B13 (Pine) Class have worked hard this term studying different types of transport and exploring different types of pollution. The children in B13 took a trip to Woodhorn and The Land Sea and Air Museum, they particularly enjoyed sitting in the old war cars and aircraft.