On Friday 11th October 2019, The Elms Junior School celebrated its 20th year as a school with an exciting day of celebrations that brought together the whole school community.
The Long Eaton school marked the milestone event with a ceremonial tree planting, time capsule and visit from children’s author Ellie Sandall who officially opened the new Lower School library.
Every class held birthday parties in the school’s honour, enjoying party games and making their own party hats, and pupils from Reception to Year 6 took part in a fun run across the school’s 45-acre campus.
Families and friends of the school were also invited to join the celebrations, which included an anniversary afternoon tea and a fun fair on the terrace.
As well as being an occasion for celebration, the 20th anniversary provided an opportunity for the whole school community to reflect on how far The Elms has come since the decision was made to expand successful independent secondary school Trent College with the addition of a thriving junior school.
Trent College’s longstanding reputation combined with the promise of a first-class education in a friendly and nurturing school environment earned The Elms its first families and on 9th September 1999 132 pupils were welcomed into classrooms by the school’s first ever Head, Mrs Anne Beardsley.
During Mrs Beardsley’s time at the helm, The Elms began to develop a reputation in its own right.
As specialist teachers joined the staff team and new building plans were approved to accommodate growing pupil numbers, the school became known for providing every pupil with the opportunity to flourish through academic achievement and a wide-ranging curriculum.
In 2007 Mrs Beardsley received a heartfelt farewell when she concluded her time at The Elms and her successor Mr Keith Morrow was welcomed to the school.
Mr Morrow led The Elms for 11 years in a period of further growth and innovation, defined by continued investment in dedicated learning spaces for specialist subjects, including a music school and Upper School Library.
In particular the establishment of The Elms Nursery & Pre-School in 2011 was a defining achievement of the era, allowing pupils to begin their journey at The Elms from as young as six weeks old.
Deputy Head (Pastoral) Mrs Lucy Deller is one of three teachers who have accompanied the school on its twenty-year journey. Reflecting on how The Elms has changed, she said, “The Elms has grown significantly since 1999 when it started with 132 pupils, with all classes being based in the Lower School Main building and eating lunch in one of the classrooms! But throughout the past 20 years I love the fact that the school has continued to maintain its strong sense of community and despite the growth in numbers The Elms still feels like a strong family unit where pupils and staff support and care for one another.”
The Elms continues to progress with the times and deliver a 21st century education under its current Head, Mrs Potter, who joined the school last year.
Over the past two decades, The Elms has evolved into a forward-thinking school made up of pupils who are committed to giving back to their local community and taking action against environmental issues.
A recently formed Eco-Council at The Elms has embraced the ‘Adopt-a-Park’ community scheme, linking the school to neighbouring park West Park, and pupils have been actively involved in litter-picking and recycling schemes.
The school has organised several upcoming events, including a ‘Switch Off Fortnight’, that they hope will promote their important eco-message and bring awareness to ongoing environmental issues around the world.
Summarising the day, Mrs Potter explained, “Many jobs of the future don’t exist and will require children to be at the forefront of innovation, as engineers and leaders. The outstanding specialist subject teachers and facilities at The Elms prepares our pupils to become adaptable learners with the ability to solve problems creatively. Our excellent pastoral care and school values ensure that they do this with integrity, resilience and passion.”