New primary school for Stafford opens to ease pressure on school places in the town

September is an exciting and busy time for most parents with children either starting school or going back after the summer holiday. But for the Signal Regiment families recently moved to Stafford from Germany the excitement is even greater.
The new Veritas academy at Beaconside opened its doors this week for the first time welcoming over 170 children, not only from forces families but also local families from the north of the town.

The primary school has been built to ease pressure on school places in the north of Stafford and will be run by the Reach2 Academy Trust, which already sponsors a number of successful academy schools across the county. It has taken around ten months to build and having had a recent tour of the facilities I was pleased that everything was in place for the start of the new school year.

With its full intake the new £5.4m school will cater for around 420 pupils and 52 nursery children helping provide much needed school places in the town.

Parents with a two year old may also be interested to hear about our think2 scheme which provides 15 hours free childcare per week. Record numbers of toddlers have already taken advantage of the places at nurseries, preschools and with childminders, and there are now more places available for the September term.

Getting children access to high quality childcare is great for their development and prepares them much better for school. Freeing up valuable time for parents also means they can get back to work, retrain, do a course or learn new skills at college. Parents on Working Tax Credits and whose household income is below £16,190 are eligible for the free places. People can check if they are eligible at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/think2 or call 0300 111 8007.

On Wednesday we all witnessed an incredible royal milestone and momentous achievement in our history as the Queen became the longest reigning British Monarch. We were all delighted with the news and we congratulate her on this achievement.

The Queen has made many trips to Staffordshire during her reign, including visits to Lichfield Cathedral, the National Memorial Arboretum, St Mary’s Church and County Buildings in Stafford and more recently to the i54 South Staffordshire site in 2014 where I had the delight of meeting her then. There will now be a special service to honour her achievement at St. Mary’s Church in Stafford on Saturday.

And while we remember the dedication of our Queen to our country, there are thousands of carers in Staffordshire either working in the sector or looking after a close relative and we want to recognise those providing the highest standards of care.

Our Dignity Awards aim to celebrate and reward carers, care organisations, volunteers and students across Staffordshire who put dignity at the heart of everything they do. These are the people we want to recognise, so if you know of someone or an organisation who always goes that extra mile to treat people with respect then please nominate them at: www.staffordshire.gov.uk/dignityincare. The closing date for nominations is 6 January 2016 and the Awards Ceremony will be held on Thursday 3 March 2016.

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