Staff and students from Haywood Sixth Form Academy and members of the local community welcomed His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to The Burslem School of Art on Tuesday 26 January.
The Royal visit took place ahead of a planned £1.5m refurbishment to prepare The Burslem School of Art for Haywood Sixth Form Academy’s new intake of students in September.
Ahead of the royal visit, Carl Ward, Executive Headteacher, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales to Haywood Sixth Form Academy’s future ‘Burslem Campus’.
“We’re looking forward to updating him on the successful restoration and refurbishment that has already breathed new life into Burslem’s historic town hall and to sharing with him our exciting plans for The Burslem School of Art.
“The forthcoming refurbishment will provide our students with additional purpose-built facilities, whilst retaining an art and cultural facility for community use out of school hours in partnership with The Burslem School of Art Trust. This second phase of building work is part of our commitment to improving the wider community in Burslem for the future of students, past, present and future.”
The Prince of Wales visited Haywood Sixth Form Academy as part of his longstanding interest in the regeneration of Burslem.
As part of his tour, His Royal Highness was greeted by Haywood Sixth Form Academy students, including students from the college’s innovative Work-Based Learning programme. This pioneering course involves two distinct elements – two days per week at Haywood Sixth Form Academy studying employability skills, maths and English; and three days per week completing work experience with a partner business as part of an exclusive employment certificate.
His Royal Highness was also shown the art room at The Burslem School of Art, where Haywood Sixth Form Academy students will develop their artistic talents, following in the footsteps of The Burslem School of Art’s prestigious alumni, including Clarice Cliff, Susie Cooper and William Moorcroft.
Haywood Sixth Form Academy has quickly become a thriving sixth form college where young people are inspired and offered first class support to help them succeed and progress into university, apprenticeships or work.
Commenting on the Royal visit, Patron of Haywood Sixth Form Academy and chair of the Burslem Regeneration Trust, Joan Walley said: “’Our young people are at the heart of the long term plan for Burslem’s future. Their education matters to them and it matters to us all.
“I am delighted that His Royal Highness is following up his commitment to Burslem to support us in our vision to recreate the original objectives of the Wedgwood Institute. That he has included in his itinerary a meeting with the Haywood Sixth Form Academy students is a real boost to all who are working together to raise aspirations.
“Not only did he stand by us and help transform the Middleport Pottery, but he continues to take a special interest in the mother town including its heritage and its people. It’s simply great to have him on board.”
Patrick Redmond chair of the Burslem Art School Trust, said: “The decision to change the direction of our organisation from a provider of affordable creative work space into an arts and cultural development and delivery support organisation operational in the locality is a natural progression for our Trust and staff. Giving up our lease on the Burslem School of Art in support of Haywood Academy in its new venture guarantees the future for the building as an educational establishment (Art School) in the heart of the community of Burslem and Stoke-on-Trent. The Burslem School of Art is an iconic building and an institution with a long history, it deserves the much needed investment Haywood Academy can bring to the repair and function of the building.”
Councillor Jack Brereton, cabinet member for regeneration, heritage and transport at the city council, said: “The plans for Burslem School of Art present an opportunity to secure the future of this iconic building for generations of students to come and will be another positive step forward in the ongoing regeneration of the Mother Town. This would be a significant investment which would give a large number of students purpose-built facilities to allow them to develop their skills further and we have been working closely with the academy to develop the plans. Furthermore, the move would bring considerable extra footfall into the town centre, which will be great news for local businesses.”