"The children of Burngreave absolutely deserve it" - principal 'blown away' by response to new £25m Sheffield school

Kim Walton, the principal at Astrea Academy Sheffield
Kim Walton, the principal at Astrea Academy Sheffield

A headteacher has been overwhelmed with the 'phenomenal' response to her new £25m school in Sheffield.

Kim Walton is the principal at Astrea Academy Sheffield, a new through-school which is being built in Burngreave to help cope with a demand on school places.

The new school will incorporate the existing Grade II-listed former Pye Bank School building

The new school will incorporate the existing Grade II-listed former Pye Bank School building

The 37-year-old said has been 'totally blown away' by the positive response the school has received from parents, the local community, and teachers - and it is still being built.

Mrs Walton is spending a lot of time in the community, determined to become a familiar face before the school opens in September.

She said: "Having met the parents at a recent parent meeting for year seven children, I was totally blown away by the positivity. It's phenomental.

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"They really want this school and they really want it to be a beacon of excellence. These children absolutely deserve it."

Construction work continues at the new Astrea Academy Sheffield

Construction work continues at the new Astrea Academy Sheffield

A number of parents have already registered an interest in becoming a school governor.

The school, on Andover Street, Burngreave, will incorporate the existing Grade II-listed former Pye Bank School building, which is currently being refurbished and will cater for children from nursery age to 18.

It will open in September with a small number of staff and children in nursery, reception and year seven.

Mrs Walton said: "The brilliant thing is that in the first year we will all be in the old, refurbished Victorian building.

Construction work continues at the new Astrea Academy Sheffield

Construction work continues at the new Astrea Academy Sheffield

"The views across Sheffield are breathtaking and for us all to be in that family unit will be an amazing experience for the children."

Mrs Walton has also been overwhelmed with the response from people within the education profession.

She received 60 applications from experienced teachers and school leaders for four jobs - head of humanities, English, languages and maths.

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"I have been overwhelmed by the outstanding quality of the applications. To be in this position in a national recruitment crisis it is just astounding that we have received this response," she said.

Construction work continues at the new Astrea Academy Sheffield

Construction work continues at the new Astrea Academy Sheffield

"I want them to come on the journey and development of the school because it is right and proper for the children of Burngreave.

"This isn't just about a school. The school will be open outside of school hours and will have a number of community activities."

Mrs Walton, who has moved from Moor End Academy, in Huddersfield, said being appointed principal was her 'dream job'.

She is involved in every aspect of the school from choosing the colour of the toilet door handles, to recruiting staff, ensuring educational policies are in place and designing the school day.

Mrs Walton said she wants to creates 'global citizens' so as well as developing pupils academic ability, they will develop the skills needed for life after school.

She said: "The whole point of this school is that ambition knows no limits.

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"The school days is being set up a little differently.

"On Wednesday afternoons I will collapse the timetable and children will taken part in activities such as sports, debating with politicians and poetry, which will be linked to the Atrea Promise - a series of challenges pupils can do through school."

Mrs Walton added that being part of the Astrea Academy Trust feels like being part of a family, with high expectations put on school improvement and doing the very best for children.

The trust's motto is Sapienta Ducet ad Astra, which is Latin for wisdom leads to the stars.

Anyone interested in becoming a governor at the school should visit https://astreasheffield.org