Category Archives: Education

Council and police target truants

Walsall Council and police working together (pic: Walsall Council)
Walsall Council and police working together (pic: Walsall Council)
Truants will be targeted in a new joint project between Walsall Council and Walsall Police starting on Monday.The project sees the council building on their success to date with partner agencies as part of the national Troubled Families programme and uses funding from within the programme for the truancy patrols.

A police officer and council attendance officers will tour the borough in a branded vehicle stopping children of school age and/or their parents to ask why they aren’t in school and if necessary ask them to return to school.

Officers will also support children, young people and their families if they identify any concerns or issues, as part of our focus to help families as early as possible. The team can help to signpost families and young people to a range of support and advice as sometimes there can be other issues beyond truancy.

The focus will be on school children of all ages.

The project will run to the end of the current school year at which time it will be evaluated.

Issues around school absence and anti-social behaviour are also addressed directly in schools with the support of attendance officers.

PS Gary Iliff, from Walsall Police, said: ”These dedicated multi agency patrols will supplement the existing engagement in schools by local neighbourhood teams.

“There will now be greater support for families at the earliest opportunity to maximise educational opportunity in Walsall.”

Councillor Barbara Cassidy, portfolio holder for children’s services at Walsall Council, said: “An education is one of the most important elements to a successful future.

“To learn, grow and achieve, children and young people need to be in school.

“As well as the educational benefits, many children get other benefits from attending school such as interaction with their peers and a healthy meal.

“This is why it is important that we support young people and their families to understand the importance of attending school regularly.

“These regular patrols will also help us to reach out to any children and families who may need some extra support so that we can put them in touch with the right agencies to help them.

“If you are concerned about a child or young person or if you have any queries I would encourage you to contact the council’s attendance service on 01922 686233.”


Edgar Stammers – where are they now? Appeal

Edgar Stammers School Pantomime, circa 1959
Edgar Stammers School Pantomime, circa 1959

This week our attention has been drawn by local man David R Harper to an interesting search for information by ‘ex-Pat Phil Bottomer, who now lives in West Sussex.

Phil is appealing for former pupils who appear in the photograph above, which is of the cast of the Edgar Stammers Junior School  (Harden Rd, Coalpool) ‘Babes in the Wood’ pantomime of circa 1959, to contact him.

Phil recently had some success with a similar appeal regarding the Edgar Stammers School football team dated circa 1959 (in the Walsall Advertiser, January 15), when he received several replies from former team members, including old pals and a long-lost cousin!

So, he’s now hoping for similar results with this latest picture, which was sent both to him and  to The Bloxwich Telegraph by David Harper (thanks David!).

As a result of these appeals, there will be a re-union organised later this year.  One important element is that Phil is hoping to hear from more girls this time, as obviously they weren’t in the school football team back in the 50s, but are very evident in the 1959 panto!

Apparently several of the football team (see picture below) are also in the panto pic – so another question is, did any of them go on to play professional foot ball, or did they become thespians?

If anyone recognises themselves, or friend and family, in both of these pictures, please telephone Phil Bottomer on 07757 959272 or email

Readers can also contact David R Harper on Facebook or via the Bloxwich News Network Facebook page.

Edgar Stammers Junior School football team, circa 1959. Pictured back row is, from left to right, is headteacher Mr Powell, Steven Groom, Phil Bottomer, Keith Pepperworth, Brian Webster and class teacher Mr Prothero. Front is Phillip Hathaway, Peter Nolan, Paul Ayres, Chris Shaw, Robert Hollowood, Morrris (Maurice) Heinze and Terry Healey.
Edgar Stammers Junior School football team, circa 1959. Pictured back row is, from left to right, is headteacher Mr Powell, Steven Groom, Phil Bottomer, Keith Pepperworth, Brian Webster and class teacher Mr Prothero. Front is Phillip Hathaway, Peter Nolan, Paul Ayres, Chris Shaw, Robert Hollowood, Morrris (Maurice) Heinze and Terry Healey.



Leamore youngsters inspired to medical careers

Elishia Firth and Levi Cox taking blood pressures
Elishia Firth and Levi Cox taking blood pressures

Year 6 pupils from Leamore Primary School developed their knowledge of all things medical last week by taking part in the ‘Careers in Health’ workshop morning delivered by representatives from Classroom Medics.

After an introductory talk and demonstration the children split into groups and used a variety of medical equipment for a range of purposes and in the process measured their own health and fitness.

Queuing up for the Batek light reactor
Queuing up for the Batek light reactor

Excited children from the popular Bloxwich Rd school were able to take their own blood pressure, pulse, heartbeat and temperature readings, used a rowing machine and a light reactor to measure strength and co-ordination.

They also performed resuscitation techniques, found out their lung capacity and wore a variety of goggles to see the effects on vision of various conditions including a stroke to name but some of the activities.

Classroom Medics are a team of medics, physiologists & scientists that visit schools and festivals to help pupils make more informed decisions about their health, careers and future ambitions.

They provide unique and memorable workshops and activities that inspire and engage school pupils and the general public.

Leamore teacher Mr Paul Mobberley said:

“The workshop was delivered superbly and really raised the children’s and staff’s awareness. It concluded with an interactive quiz and even at the age of 11 some of the children are considering a career in medicine as a result.”

Pictures courtesy Paul Mobberley

Leamore school links to northern mining village

Children from High Spen are learning about Leamore.
Children from High Spen are learning about Leamore.

Leamore Primary School are saying that they are delighted to have a new partner school in the North East of England – High Spen Primary.

The popular school in Bloxwich Road, Leamore already have international links, with partner schools overseas, but it was recently thought that it would be a good idea to link up with another school in a different part of England, according to Leamore teacher Paul Mobberley.

High Spen is a former mining village on the outskirts of Gateshead about 5 miles from Newcastle City Centre – and considering Leamore’s own historical links with coal mining and related industries, what could be more appropriate?


Already the respective Year 6 classes from both schools have begun to undertake joint projects by writing and emailing each other, comparing similarities and differences between their schools and making videos about their locality for each other to watch and links to each other’s schools have been incorporated on their websites.

Mr Mobberley, a Year 6 teacher himself, recently spent a day at High Spen as guest of their headteacher Mr Firth and was able to meet with their Year 6 children and staff and tell them about life in the ‘Black Country’.

Paul Mobberley said:

“The children found it fascinating to learn about a different part of the country with hardly any of the High Spen children having ever visited the West Midlands and  similarly the Leamore children with the North East.

“Now these links have been established it is hoped that as the year progresses there will be many joint activities including children visiting each others’ schools.”

Picture courtesy Paul Mobberley.

Quick change of Olympic cycling heroes for Bloxwich event

Left to right: Steve Bagley, head of collections at Coventry Transport Museum, Chris Hilton, principal at Black Country UTC, Lesley Principal, assistant principal at Black Country UTC.
Steve Bagley, head of collections at Coventry Transport Museum, Chris Hilton, principal at Black Country UTC, Lesley Principal, assistant principal at Black Country UTC.

Youngsters across the Black Country and beyond are being given a unique chance to grill two of Team GB’s gold medal and world record heroes at an exclusive event, as seen in our earlier story.

The Black Country University Technical College (formerly Sneyd Comprehensive School), based on Vernon Way, adjacent to Mossley Estate in Bloxwich, had already secured team pursuit cycling star Geraint Thomas to host its ‘Accelerate Live’ extravaganza on Saturday 24th November, and has now added Thomas’ team-mate, Steven Burke.

The pair made headlines at London 2012 when they twice shattered the world record on the way to their velodrome sensation, and will now meet existing and potential Black Country UTC students.

‘Accelerate Live’ is the first of the UTC’s ‘Live Series’ of events, and will bring to life the magic of engineering in a series of exhibitions and showcases focused on the science behind the cycle.

Among them will be the award winning ‘Pedals to Medals Interactive Experience’ – a journey through the history of the cycle, from Penny Farthing to Olympic 2012 mean machine.

Alongside that, Geraint and Steven will talk about their own unique experience and how their gold medals were achieved.

Steven is delighted to have been included in the event. He said:

“I certainly have very good memories of working alongside Geraint and hopefully people will be interested to hear about our amazing 2012 journey.

“Accelerate Live is a fantastic idea to excite youngers about the possibilities of science and engineering. I’m fascinated to see the ‘Pedals to Medals Experience’ too.”

Steven replaces Lizzie Armitstead at the event, as the silver medalist is no longer able to attend.

‘Accelerate Live’ is an all ticket event and demand is already high. Anyone interested in getting their complimentary ticket should visit to register.

Along with the cycling theme, ‘Accelerate Live’ will also showcase dynamic engineering and science demonstrations, including robotics displays, Green Power vehicles and much more.

Picture courtesy Black Country UTC

Elmore Green hero’s Great War medals presented to school

Elmore Green - Ron Grimsley presents his uncle's medals to Jane Humphreys.

The very special occasion of Elmore Green Primary School’s annual service of remembrance was made even more poignant and significant on Friday by the surprise donation of a set of Great War medals to the historic Bloxwich school.

The medals, comprising two campaign medals plus the bronze ‘Dead Man’s Penny’ traditionally given to the families of servicemen killed in the First World War of 1914-1918 were awarded posthumously to Elmore Green School ‘old boy’ Lance Corporal William Ernest Grimsley, late of the 4th Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment.

Lance Corporal Grimsley, who was killed during fighting in Belgium on 10th April 1918, is remembered on the Ploegsteert Memorial, at Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium, as well as on the Elmore Green School Great War Memorial which was returned to the school last year after spending decades at T.P. Riley Comprehensive School followed by several years at a mason’s yard after the demolition of that school.

Lance Corporal Grimsley's inscription on the school memorial.
Lance Corporal Grimsley’s inscription on the school memorial.

The medals were presented to the headteacher of Elmore Green Primary School, Jane Humphreys, by the nephew of W.E. Grimsley, Mr Ron Grimsley of Beechdale, Bloxwich, following the remembrance service (pictured, above).

Mr Grimsley is himself a veteran of the Korean War, during which he served in the Royal Navy aboard the Crown Colony-class cruiser HMS Jamaica.

Lance Corporal Grimsley features, along with the other men on the school memorial, in a new book, ‘Sorrow into Pride’, by local historians Ken Wayman and Barry Crutchley, which it is is hoped will be on sale either in December or January.

Leamore college shortlisted for national award

WACC logo

Leamore’s popular adult education institution, Walsall Adult & Community College, will find out whether it will receive another accolade next week after being shortlisted for a national award.

The college, which provides hundreds of learning opportunities to over 8,000 students each year, is one of sixty-nine organisations that have been nominated for a Green Gown Award 2012 by The Environment Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC).

Now in their eighth year, the Green Gown Awards recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges in the UK.

This year’s ceremony will take place on Monday 5 November 2012 at The Great Hall, University of Birmingham.

WACC has been shortlisted alongside Derbyshire Adult Education Service, Jewel & Esk College and Circus Space for its ongoing sustainability initiatives.

Last June the college fought off competition from larger organisations and businesses to triumph at the West Midlands START Awards 2011, sponsored by the Prince’s Trust Business in the Community.

It is looking to build on its success by gaining the Learning In Future Environments Index (LiFE) Accreditation with the EAUC.

Find out more about WACC via this link.

Leamore youngsters train safely for real life

Leamore Primary School pupils use radar guns at Safeside.

Earlier this month, Year 6 pupils from Leamore Primary School were given the exciting opportunity to learn in a very practical way about being safer citizens by spending a day at the ‘Safeside at Eastside’ centre in Birmingham.

Funded and managed by West Midlands Fire Service, Safeside opened in early 2009 alongside the new Fire Service Headquarters on Vauxhall Road, Nechells. 

The centre is a remarkable learning environment which replicates real life situations in a typical town environment styled along the lines of a busy High Street and its environs.  The aim is to provide inspiration and simple training to encourage visitors to think and act safely.


Owen Smith, Alex Snee and Jamie Hendy by the Safeside bus.
Owen Smith, Alex Snee and Jamie Hendy by the Safeside bus.

The site features a full size indoor street scene including a road crossing, a West Midlands bus, a train carriage, a canal, a car, a house and a police station.  Scenes also replicated include a court room, a dark alleyway, a Co-Op food store and a post office.

Young people and others visiting find that key issues of fire, road, water, travel and personal safety are covered along with input on vandalism, drugs and alcohol, the consequences of crime, environmental responsibilities and what to do in an emergency.


On arrival the Leamore pupils were divided into small groups and then taken into the Safeside Village where they were taken through a range of scenarios which could occur to any of us at any time.

Using the bus and a train carriage on hand, they began by learning about safety on public transport.  Then, inside the replica shop they were given lessons about restricted goods.

Queueing in the 'Co-Op' - Owen Smith, Alex Snee and Jamie Hendy.
Queueing in the ‘Co-Op’ – Owen Smith, Alex Snee and Jamie Hendy.

Proceeding into the house the boys and girls were given fire safety lessons, including a demonstration involving a room burning to nothing in under four minutes.  Domestic safety in the kitchen was also covered, and after leaving the house there was instruction on personal safety in several scenarios including at the zebra crossing and in the dark alley.


The afternoon also involved two workshops about road safety (where the children went outside and used a speed gun to measure the speed of passing traffic) and using public transport, and finished with an interactive quiz using keypads to answer questions on the issues studied during the day, with the success rate, whilst not quite being 100% , showing that a lot of valuable lessons had been learned.

Paul Mobberley of Leamore Primary School, Bloxwich Road, said:

“Safeside is an outstanding organisation, staffed entirely by volunteers.

“The scenarios are so lifelike you could actually be there and, with the children who visit moving to high schools in September, they may find themselves in them and will hopefully now be better equipped to deal with them should such situations occur.”

Leamore parents will no doubt be greatly reassured to hear that their children are receiving such practical and professional training as part of their busy school life.  The benefits are obvious, and it is to be hoped that school pupils across the borough will also have the same opportunity as Leamore boys and girls.

We only wish there had been such facilities available when we were their age!

For more information on Safeside at Eastside, follow this link to their website.

For more about Leamore Primary School, check out their excellent school blogs.

Photographs and information on the visit kindly provided by Paul Mobberley.

Countdown begins for Leamore college enrolment

WACC logo

It’s enrolment time at Walsall Adult & Community College (WACC).

New and returning learners are invited to attend any of the following enrolment days:

* Saturday 1st September from 10am to 2pm
* Monday 3rd September from 10am to 7pm
* Tuesday 4th September from 10am to 7pm

This year learners can choose where they want to enrol, at either the college’s Hawbush Centre in Bloxwich Road, Leamore or its Whitehall Centre in Weston Street, as well as the college’s new town centre shop, the WACC Shack in the Saddlers Shopping Centre.

At all three venues college staff will be on hand to help and advise learners about their chosen course subject.

Prospective learners are reminded to bring ID and any evidence of claiming benefits when enrol.

“We have hundreds of learning opportunities at over 40 different venues,” said Maria Gilling, the college principal.

“We have many short, introductory courses to get you started and build your confidence, plus a fantastic range of Career Launch packages in many employment sectors,” she added.

To view the latest Course Brochure visit Copies can be requested by calling 01922 663000 or by email at

Space age school is rare new building for Leamore

A new school is a rare and positive landmark, especially in Leamore – a part of the borough more often known for its demolished buildings and burnt-out pubs.

And the development in question’s exciting circular design, which is less than a year old, harks back to the futuristic sci-fi ideas of the 1970s, as seen in British TV series Space 1999’s Moonbase Alpha – especially when seen from space!

Moonbase Alpha - Space 1999 (1975-77)
Moonbase Alpha – Space 1999 (1975-77).

No wonder then, perhaps, that the very futuristic Christ Church C of E Primary School in Leamore has now been awarded the prestigious BREEAM Excellent rating for energy efficiency and environmental performance.

The school, built by Walsall Council in partnership with Willmott Dixon Construction Ltd, cost £5 million to build and replaces the old, derelict rooms of the previous school building that were considered to small too meet the needs of the staff and pupils.

Christ Church CE Primary School, Leamore, from space (courtesy Google earth)
Christ Church CE Primary School, Leamore, from space (courtesy Google earth).

The new building is the first circular construction in Walsall and now caters to the educational needs of the 230 pupils that currently attend.

The BREEAM Excellent rating itself is given to buildings that have a low environmental impact and improve working and living environments. The assessment is done on a scoring system that takes into account many environmental and sustainability issues.

Winning the award took a great deal of work from all parties involved and is a massive boost for the community.

Christ Church CE Primary School Leamore 2012 (courtesy Walsall Council)
Christ Church CE Primary School Leamore 2012 (courtesy Walsall Council).

Walsall Council’s portfolio holder for children’s services Councillor Rachel Andrew said:

“I am thrilled to hear the outcome of the assessment of this school’s environmental impact for the pupils, staff and the wider community. This school provides a unique learning environment and it is great that it’s positive for the environment too. I would like to personally congratulate everyone who was involved in such obtaining the certification.”

She also added: “It just goes to show what Walsall schools can achieve.”

Joanna Darby of Willmott Dixon commented that “It is rare a building achieves this rating post-construction.”

Headteacher Ann Lowe said: “The staff and pupils are all very glad and welcoming of the outcome and we would like to extend our thanks to all the developers and architects involved in the planning and building process.