First Day to Remember

Mayor of Greater Manchester official opens Rayner Stephens High School and launches the AspirePlus Education Trust

Monday, 11th September 2017

Photo 5.jpgStudents at Rayner Stephens High School in Dukinfield were given a first day back to school to remember. As students across the borough returned to school last Thursday, following the summer break, there was a very special occasion taking place at Rayner Stephens to commemorate the official opening of the school. The school, previously known as Astley Sports College, opened its doors under its new name for the first time on Thursday and to mark the occasion Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester was joined by other dignitaries to celebrate in this historic occasion.

The event, hosted at Rayner Stephens High School on Yew Tree Lane in Dukinfield included a whole school assembly, music from pupils from both schools and a presentation to the Mayor from the Head Boy and Head Girl. During the event, Mr Burnham spoke to the students about the significance of the day and its meaning for the students of Rayner Stephens. Mr Burnham gave an insight into his own journey through school and spoke of his working class roots and the challenges that had presented. He spoke about the value of education and the importance of believing in yourself. During his address he stated that he feels more should be done to help young people get on in life stating that he wants to be remembered as being a Mayor for young people. He gave examples of the different initiatives across Greater Manchester he is currently championing to help young people travel, work and gain qualifications.

As well as officially opening the school, Mr Burnham also formally launched the AspirePlus Multi Academy Trust. The Trust, which is the first secondary school-led Multi Academy Trust in Tameside, has launched with both Rayner Stephens and Longdendale High School as its two founder members. The Trust’s vision, mission and values have evolved directly from the ethos for improvement instilled in both schools. Central to the Trust are the schools’ ASPIRE core values and the belief that all students must be given every opportunity to succeed in life, by seeking to develop their academic and vocational abilities, their creative talents and their wider interests. The Trust is also an extension of the ambitious vision for educational improvement started by the original A+ Trust in 2013.

Mr Burnham said it meant a lot to him to be involved with the opening and went on to say ‘this is a special, historic day for this community and we will all remember having been here. I wanted to give the school, the staff and everybody here the backing from my office, not just me but what the Mayor of Greater Manchester can bring to show that we do care and we want them to succeed and that we will give them all the support that we can.’

The event was well attended from different members of the community including Tameside Council’s Chief Executive Stephen Pleasant, councillors from each of the school’s wards, Trustees for the new AspirePlus Multi Academy Trust, including Founder Member Jonathan Reynolds MP as well as Andrea Jones, Headteacher at Longdendale High school, school governors and representatives from the A+ Trust member institutions.

Matthew Bowler, CEO for the AspirePlus Trust, said he was delighted with the turn out for the opening ceremony which was a reflection of the school and its community and the desire for all those involved wanting to join together in wishing the staff and students well on their new journey. Fay Beach, Headteacher of Rayner Stephens, said she felt immensely proud of the new school and noted the hard working and commitment of the staff at Rayner Stephens who she feels confident will do their upmost to continue raising standards and achievement to ensure every child is given the same opportunity to do their very best.

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