> The Queensberry Initiative
The Queensberry Initiative
The Queensberry Initiative
The Queensberry Initiative is a sector-leading charity which aims to link Wallace Hall Academy in Thornhill, its local primary schools and its surrounding communities in order to enhance the learning experiences of pupils and develop their employability skills through partnership working. The project has been very successful in addressing these aims and is attracting increasing levels of interest both locally and nationally.
The project has recently been expanded to include Sanquhar Academy and bring the Queensberry Initiative to the pupils of Upper Nithsdale.
With a strong partnership between the schools and the Buccleuch and Queensberry Estate, the project has been admired and now aspects are duplicated by other schools.
The Queensberry Initiative was established in 2008 as a result of discussions between Wallace Hall Academy and the Buccleuch and Queensberry Estate about building links in order to enhance the school curriculum. Funding was then sought to set up the project and to develop its main themes: vocational courses; ‘the outdoor classroom’; work placements; career mentoring; transitions between different stages of education; ‘whapples’, a social enterprise built around the development of a school orchard; and ‘Rural Opportunities Days’ to promote the range of career paths accessible in the local area.
The project’s core aims include working with the community and businesses to support and challenge all our students, and ensuring that all students are ready for work. It provides vocational opportunities for a broad range of students of all learning type, and ensures students are more aware of rural opportunities and all aspects of their local environment, and provides all students with full access to our vast ‘outdoor classroom’.
The Queensberry Initiative have been successful in involving a large number of volunteers and placement providers in the community to help to expand their work-related learning initiatives. The Queensberry Initiative Career Mentoring programme has proven to be a success with over 15 business people giving up their time to support senior pupils as they prepare to leave school and step into the world of work and university or college. Seventeen local farmers open their gates on a weekly rota basis to give pupils a real feel for work within the agricultural sector, ensuring pupils of all abilities are aware of the possibilities within this career path.
The Queensberry Initiative believe that what they are working on is both ground-breaking and important to the children and young people of the area.