A RECENTLY formed Anglican church primary school has taken on five apprentices to help educate pupils.
Northern Saints Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School in Sunderland was created after an agreement between the Diocese of Durham and Sunderland City Council.
Its formation brought together Hylton Red House Primary and Bishop Harland Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary to create the city’s largest primary school, catering for 500 pupils.
The apprentices project is being run as part of a partnership with Sunderland College. Three are working with Early Years children, one is assisting with site supervisory duties and the fifth is a business administration assistant.
Northern Saints school headteacher Steve Williamson said: “This is a way of supporting people who want to train whilst they work and we see it as a way of raising our apprentices’ aspirations.
“As a church school, we wanted to put something back into the community. Our apprentices have aspirations and seeing what they are doing also raises our pupils’ aspirations. They will inspire our young people. This is a long-term project.”
The project has been backed by the Bishop of Durham, the Right Revd Paul Butler. During a recent visit, the bishop met the apprentices and also opened a newly refurbished part of the school for Early Years pupils.
Site supervisory apprentice Michael Leonard, 19, whose work includes building maintenance and health and safety, said: “Being an apprentice gives you experience of a wide range of jobs. It gives you a good grounding.”
Bishop Paul said: “This is a very encouraging scheme. Having apprentices of all ages in our schools learning whilst they earn is a benefit to the school, the children and the apprentices. I would encourage wider creation of apprenticeships – in fact we are suggesting that churches look at how they might get involved when there is a need.”
“Seeing what has been achieved here and opening the newly refurbished early years outdoor area was a delight. This feels like a very good place to learn and that is clearly happening across the years with children and adults alike.”