Lawley Village Academy Expansion: Great schools for local communities

In the heart of Lawley Village, a transformational project is underway at Lawley Village Academy, signalling a new chapter in its educational journey. After navigating a challenging planning consultation over the summer, the academy is evolving from a 1FE Primary to a 2FE Primary and Nursery provision. The expansion, long overdue due to the rapid growth in housing in the area, is a testament to the school's commitment to meeting the evolving needs of its community. 

 The expansion project, a collaborative effort between Telford & Wrekin Council, REAch2 Academy Trust, and Pave Aways Building Contractors, exemplifies effective partnership in action. Despite the complexities, the teams have managed to ensure that the school remains fully operational throughout the construction, showcasing a seamless blend of education and development. 

 Amidst the construction buzz, parents, staff, and most importantly, the children, actively participate in the unfolding of the expansion. With Perspex windows strategically cut into the hoarding along the playground perimeter, children have a first-hand view of the construction machinery, fostering excitement and anticipation for the completed project. 

Claire Freestone, Head Teacher at Lawley Village Academy, expresses her enthusiasm, stating, "It is a really exciting time for everyone at Lawley Village Academy." She highlights the inclusive approach taken by builders, who have invited children class by class to witness the structure, even providing them with hard hats. The academy's warm welcome extends beyond its walls, with small windows in the fencing allowing children to observe machinery and envision the future. 

 Lee Francis, Project Lead for the REAch2 Programme Management Office, emphasizes the importance of a strong working relationship. "By establishing a very good working relationship from day 1, it has meant we have been able to work extremely closely with the contractor and LA to get exactly what the school needs from this expansion," says Francis. He commends the school's flexibility, ensuring that the expansion aligns with the safety and educational needs of both pupils and staff. 

 Cathie Paine, CEO of REAch2 Academy Trust envisions the expansion as a transformative milestone, stating, "Our commitment to providing great schools for local communities is reflected in the expansion of Lawley Village Academy. We are thrilled to be expanding our provision of a great education for children and wider support for families as the school doubles in size.” 


The journey towards expansion is expected to culminate in late summer 2024, with the newly enhanced Lawley Village Academy ready to welcome a new intake of students in September 2024. The anticipation is palpable as the community envisions an enriched educational environment that reflects the vibrant and growing Lawley Village. 



Harlow’s Water Lane Primary School Takes Flight in Sustainable Aviation Education

London Stansted has introduced the Jet Zero curriculum, aiming to inspire the next generation of environmentally conscious aviators. The program, designed for local schools like REAch2’s Water Lane Primary Academy, had its first session on October 13 at the Aerozone Education Centre. 

 Using interactive game technology, Year 3 pupils explored the creation of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and its role in achieving net-zero aviation by 2050.  

 This initial step into sustainable flying education is just the prelude to a comprehensive curriculum, with the second phase set to launch later this year. The initiative aligns seamlessly with London Stansted's owner, MAG, and their Jet Zero Education pledge—a commitment made in July 2022, concurrent with the UK Government's Jet Zero Strategy publication. 

 Miss D Farquhar, Water Lane Primary Academy's Science Lead, shared her long connection with the Aerozone Education Centre, highlighting its consistent role in delivering captivating STEM learning experiences to the pupils. The visits, she noted, have consistently captivated children's interest, featuring key speakers such as ground staff, pilots, air hostesses, and engineers. The immersive day includes visits to a dedicated platform for close-up aircraft viewing, complete with flashing lights from friendly pilots, and hands-on activities with the fire brigade, allowing children to wield water hoses like real firefighters. 




 Lily-Mae Clark, aged 7, a participant in the visit, succinctly described the experience as "out of this world." 

 London Stansted's Jet Zero curriculum aim is to impart essential knowledge about sustainable aviation but also serves as a multidisciplinary platform supporting subjects like Geography, Careers, History, and various STEM activities related to forces, motion, speed, and engineering. The program aims not only to educate but to inspire, fostering a new generation of environmentally conscious aviation enthusiasts who are ready to soar to new heights. 


 REAch2 Academy Trust values environmental responsibility and recognises the importance of incorporating sustainable aviation education into school curricula. This aligns with the our commitment to providing a well-rounded education that extends beyond traditional boundaries. By promoting awareness of sustainable practices, we aim to equip pupils with the knowledge and mindset to contribute positively to a greener future. This approach not only supports sustainability goals but also prepares our pupils to be responsible global citizens who understand the balance between technological advancements and environmental stewardship. 

Empowering Women in Leadership: Insights from the E-ACT Ideas Conference

The E-ACT Ideas - Women into Leadership Conference unfolded with a stellar line-up of speakers, among them our very own CEO, Cathie Paine. With a theme centred around inspiration, the event aimed to bring together female leaders and aspiring leaders, exploring the challenges women encounter in their career progression and offering strategies to thrive in leadership roles. 

The conference was tailored to support women aspiring to leadership roles or contemplating their next steps in leadership. It delved into the intricate topic of gender inequality, addressing common themes faced by female leaders. Participants had the opportunity to hear from inspirational women who have paved the way, engage in discussions, and draw motivation and empowerment from shared stories. 

CEO, Cathie Paine with a children in a classroom.

Key Sessions: 

Navigating Imposter Syndrome:

Participants at the E-ACT Ideas - Women into Leadership Conference delved into effective strategies for overcoming self-doubt and embracing their true potential. 

Stepping into Leadership:

Aspiring leaders gained valuable insights into the skills and knowledge required for successful leadership roles, setting the stage for their next career steps. 

Balancing Work and Life:

The conference uncovered practical tips for maintaining a healthy work-life balance, offering valuable guidance to those pursuing leadership goals. 

Thriving Amid Adversity:

In a session on thriving during unexpected challenges, attendees heard stories and learned strategies to thrive and lead in the face of adversity.  The event provided a platform for three of our exceptional Headteachers to participate and share their insights. 

Cathie Paine Keynote:

Going from class teacher to CEO:  the importance of humility, authenticity, vulnerability, creativity and intentionality.  

In the insightful keynote address by Cathie Paine, participants were taken on her journey from a dedicated class teacher to the CEO of the largest primary-only Multi-Academy Trust in the country, shedding light on the crucial values and personal principles that defined each step along the way. Cathie emphasized the paramount importance of humility, serving as the cornerstone that allows a leader to continuously learn and grow. Authenticity emerged as a guiding principle, steering actions and decisions with genuine sincerity, fostering a sense of trust and connection. The power of vulnerability was underscored, recognising its role in building authentic relationships and creating a culture of openness.

The keynote delved into the dynamic interplay of creativity, showcasing its pivotal role in driving innovation and propelling the organisation forward. Intentionality emerged as the rudder steering the course, ensuring every decision and initiative aligns with a purposeful vision. Cathie Paine's address not only shared personal insights but provided a roadmap for aspiring leaders, emphasizing the multifaceted qualities essential for navigating the intricate path from a classroom teacher to a visionary CEO.