Everton Free School celebrates its ten-year anniversary this month, with a range of activities taking place to mark the special occasion.
Everton in the Community, the club’s charitable arm, made history in 2012 when it became the first club-community partnership to win Government permission to open a free school.
The first celebratory event will be a test flight of a space balloon this Thursday (23 June) to launch the Free School into the next decade.
This will be followed by a full flight in September, when a 360-degree camera will travel to near-space to capture images of Earth; the payload will also include a special tenth-anniversary kit which was designed by an Everton Football College student as part of a school-wide art competition.
The winning design was chosen by Everton and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and is currently being developed by Hummel.
A mural to mark Hillsborough will also be officially unveiled at the school on the day, designed by a local artist and created based on students’ thoughts and ideas.
The official launch of the space balloon will then take place in September, proudly displaying a kit designed by children in the school, making it the first kit in space. On Friday 23rd September, following a week of STEAM based activities, we will be releasing a weather balloon from Welshpool into near space.
Inside the payload attached to the balloon will be a football kit designed by one of our students and chosen by Jordan Pickford. Once the weather balloon reaches the edge of space, the payload will descend back down to Earth where a select number of students will be tracking its location.
To join in with celebrations on Thursday will be 120 guests, including teachers, students, stakeholders and business partners, who will enjoy a three-course dinner and toasts from the Principal, Steven Baker OBE, and Chair of Governors, Sir John Jones.
Everton’s Free School on Spellow Lane offers alternative educational opportunities and experiences of the highest quality to young people aged 14-16, and Level 2 and 3 sport courses to post-16 students.
Since launching in 2012, the school has received two glowing Ofsted reports and has re-engaged 120 14–16-year-old students back into education who have either been expelled from their previous schools or are at risk of exclusion.
Starting out with a curriculum which offered English, Maths and Sports, the school now offers GCSEs in Double Award Science, vocational learning and e-sports and also works with its partners to promote other areas such as the arts, hair and beauty, construction and childcare.
Last year, the school recognised its first graduates of its BSc Sports Development and Coaching programme, a three-year course ran in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University.
The latest Ofsted report also revealed that GCSE and other results achieved by students compare very favourably to those found in similar provision, locally and across the country.
Principal Steven Baker was awarded an OBE last year for his dedication to voluntary services. With more than 15 years’ experience in education, including specific expertise in working with children with Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties, he is now looking forward to delivering an ambitious vision for the next decade with teachers and governors.
Steven said: “We owe our success to the efforts and attitudes of the entire team and our student’s ambition to learn and grow as individuals. The staff have genuine care for these fantastic young people who without the school, may have struggled and not received the same opportunities.
“The aspirations of our staff for our students shines through the achievements of our learners, some of whom are now abroad with fully sponsored university places. But it’s not just qualifications they take away, it’s life skills and experience which equips them to enter the world after education.
“We look forward to continuing our commitment to every single child who starts their journey at the Free School through a collective effort from our staff, partners, parents and guardians, and we look forward to another successful decade.”
The celebrations continue after the school was awarded Specialist Provision school of the year and best teaching assistant at the TES awards which took place in Mayfair last Friday.
Ex-alumni includes a student who is currently studying aeronautical engineering in Florida, law graduates and some who have been inspired to go onto work with Everton in the Community themselves.
For more information about Everton Free School and Football College, visit www.evertonfreeschool.com