The countdown to the opening of Nottingham University Samworth Academy started on May 22nd with a celebration of pupils’ creativity and talent.
‘Limitless Futures’ — a special event held at The University of Nottingham — showcased artwork, films, photography, theatre, magic and displays, bringing together staff, sponsors and governors with city councillors and MPs to mark the start of a ‘100-day countdown’ to the opening.
Nottingham University Samworth Academy (NUSA) opens its doors in September 2009, on the site of the existing William Sharp School in Bilborough. It will move into brand-new £24m facilities on the William Sharp site in September 2010. Its sponsors are The University of Nottingham and retired businessman and philanthropist David Samworth.
The title of the May 22nd event, ‘Limitless Futures’, reflects aspirations for the children of Bilborough and the potential of the new Academy to transform their prospects for the future.
Among the displays was an exploration of ‘The Road to Bilborough’, a University-sponsored project that has seen two playwrights working in the community to create a play about the part of the city that is home to William Sharp. A subsequent community play will be about the closure of William Sharp and the opening of NUSA.
Guests at the event also saw the premiere short film about 'Sharp Records' - a music label set up at William Sharp School that has discovered a wealth of singing talent among the pupils.
Local artists Beeston Jones will be creating a piece of artwork using contributions from wellwishers at the event, which will go on display at NUSA when it opens.
Nottingham North MP Graham Allen, whose constituency includes Bilborough, joined with William Sharp pupils to start the symbolic 100-day countdown.
Mr Allen said: "We are taking on a really serious challenge which will enable all these young people to realise the potential they have always had, and the potential that will come to fruition in the years to come. So I'd like to say a real heartfelt thankyou from the community of Bilborough and Nottingham North for everything you have done."
Welcoming guests to the event was the chairman of NUSA’s governing body, Michael Rowen, the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, former County Chairman of the Prince's Trust and a former governor of Nottingham High School.
The deputy chairman of governors is Emeritus Professor David James of Nottingham University Medical School; other members of the governing body include Olympic gold medallist Dr Tim Brabants; David Stewart, headteacher of the Shepherd School in Nottingham; Professor Diane Birch, Project Director for the University; Chris Thompson, the University’s Chief Financial Officer; Caroline Whitty of Samworth Brothers Ltd; and local solicitor David Tilly.
Mr Rowen said: “The Academy has the future of the young people of Bilborough at its heart and we’re delighted to be able to celebrate their potential and their talent at this event. We are really looking forward to welcoming the first intake of children to the Nottingham University Samworth Academy in September – there is a real sense of anticipation as the opening approaches, with admissions showing a marked increase from previous years in the predecessor school.”
David Harris, NUSA’s Principal-Designate, said: “The Academy is not only going to offer a first-class education, but will also develop a sense of excitement for learning that will make pupils eager to come into school each day. That sense of excitement is already tangible in the way that pupils have engaged with the whole process and the countdown event is a showcase for their ability and hard work.”
More information about the Academy can be found on the NUSA website at:
More information is available from Professor Diane Birch, NUSA Project Director, University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 951 5706, Di.email@example.com; Dave Harris, Principal-designate, NUSA, +44 (0)115 951 5775, firstname.lastname@example.org; Alison Ingram, NUSA Project Manager, Academy Project Unit, University of Nottingham, +44 (0)115 951 5775, Alison.email@example.com