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Pupils Make Their Own Banner for Gala : Silver Tree Primary School – Ushaw Moor

The artwork combines modern images from Silver Tree Primary School in Ushaw Moor, County Durham, with pictures of the village’s past as a mining community – a miners’ lamp, a pick axe and a coal wagon.

Since 1871 scores of banners new and old – each one representing a colliery community – have been paraded through the streets of Durham as part of the city’s gala celebrations. This year’s event – on Saturday – will be no different.

In recent years, the number of banners has increased as schools and community groups have embarked on restoring them or making new ones.

Ushaw Moor’s pit closed in 1960 but there is still a fascination with the area’s mining past – a clue to why the gala remains one of the largest union organised gatherings in the country.

“We have been learning a lot about mining – it’s really interesting,” Millie told me, adding that she never misses the gala.

Durham Miners' Gala: Continuing success of the city's celebration - BBC News

via Durham Miners’ Gala: Continuing success of the city’s celebration – BBC News.

Ushaw College buildings and grounds open to public from Saturday (From The Northern Echo)

April 22, 2015 Leave a comment

A FORMER training college for priests for the Roman Catholic church is openings its doors to the public over coming months.

Ushaw College, a Roman Catholic seminary from inception in 1808 until the last trainees were consecrated in 2011, is considered a hidden gem, set in a large expanse countryside four miles west of Durham.

It has been linked with Durham University from 1968 and, since the last trainee priests left, its residential block has been used as overflow accommodation by both the university’s business school and more recently by Josephine Butler College.

Surrounded by 400-acres of picturesque grounds, between the villages of Ushaw Moor, Bearpark and Langley Park, the site includes Grade I and Grade II-listed buildings, including St Margaret’s Chapel and St Cuthbert’s Chapel, as well as an ornate exhibition hall and refectory.

All were built by English architect Augustus Pugin in the classic Gothic Renaissance style.

The charitable trust now running the former seminary was awarded a £3,000 grant towards the enhancement of its herbaceous borders in the formal gardens in front of the college.

Work also began restoring the 19th Century gardens last autumn with initially a 20-strong band of volunteers, swelled on occasions after a call for extra helping hands.

Roger Kelly, chair of the college’s concert and events group, which promotes use of the grounds and buildings, said it was the beginning of a bid to restore the site to its former glory.

“Already, since last September, a transformation has taken place.

“The overgrown borders have been weeded, saplings and briars cleared away, and the gift of 3,000 tulips has resulted in the central borders becoming a blaze of spring colour.”

Both the buildings and gardens are open to the public on Saturdays, from 12-noon to 5pm, with a gift shop and cafe running during those hours.

It includes entry to the chapels, refectory and exhibition hall, with admission free.

Over the next four weeks visitors will also have the chance to view the medieval chasuble, a vestment worn by the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, during the recent funeral ceremonies for King Richard III in Leicester.

Tickets are available for a concert featuring the Durham-founded singing ensemble Renaissance in St Cuthbert’s College, at Ushaw, on Saturday, at 7.30pm.

They are available for £10 each from the box office at Durham’s Gala Theatre, but can also be bought on the door on the night.

via College buildings and grounds open to public from Saturday (From The Northern Echo).

Troubled school hit by financial crisis – Durham Federation – From The Northern Echo

December 13, 2014 Leave a comment

A CRISIS-hit federation school that was plunged into special measures just two years after being hailed the most improved in the country has hit a financial crisis, The Northern Echo can reveal.

Trevor Dunn, the principal at the Durham Federation, has written to staff and trade unions spelling out the need for “significant savings” to balance the budget.

Mr Dunn appealed for money saving ideas, including expressions of interest in early retirement or voluntary redundancy.

However, suggestions at least 15 jobs will be axed across the two schools, Durham Community Business College (DCBC) in Ushaw Moor and Fyndoune Community College in Sacriston, have been dismissed as premature.

 MP Kevan Jones, whose North Durham constituency covers Sacriston, said the development was alarming and the federation should be taken out of local authority hands and turned into an academy as quickly as possible.

However, Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, whose Durham City patch includes Ushaw Moor, said while it was very unfortunate, decisions on the federation’s future should not be rushed.

The Unison trade union, which represents many school staff, said it would be inappropriate to comment.

 In a statement, Mr Dunn said: “I have sent a letter to staff and trade unions outlining the need for the federation to make significant savings to balance its budget.

“The letter is clear that at this stage we are asking for suggestions or ideas to reduce spending, which could include expressions of interest in early retirement/voluntary redundancy, a reduction in hours, job sharing or new ways of working.”

He added: “I would like to stress that we are at the very early stages of this process and we will listen carefully to all suggestions before making any further decisions.”

The federation, the first in County Durham back in 2006, has suffered a remarkable fall from grace. Just two years ago, Fyndoune was the most improved secondary school in the country and DCBC was given £650,000 to pioneer vocational education with the region’s first Studio School sixth form.

 Subsequently, it lost three headteachers, including Anne Lakey who is facing child six charges, and a surprise Ofsted inspection in September led to the federation being put into special measures, the closure of its sixth form, the resignation of its chair of governors and its emergency conversion into an academy.

Mr Jones said the conversion must happen as quickly as possible to minimise uncertainty for staff and families – and with a sponsor other than Durham County Council, which he accused of dragging its feet over the school’s leadership problems.

Dr Blackman-Woods linked the budget deficit to the school’s management problems but said she hoped compulsory redundancies could be avoided.

Troubled school hit by financial crisis – From The Northern Echo

History group launches new publication on Deerness Valley

March 18, 2014 1 comment

COMMUNITY history enthusiasts will reveal their latest publication about colourful local characters and places of interest at the weekend (March 22).

Places and People In and Around the Deerness Valley is the second publication by Hamsteels History Group, based on the Hamsteels Estate, in Esh Winning, near Durham.

Details of the book and the use of images from Britain from the Air, a Heritage Lottery Project, will be given at the presentation event/coffee morning, on Saturday (March 22).

Twenty copies of the new book, compiled and bound by group members, will be available for purchase at the event, at Hamsteels Community Centre, in Western Avenue, Esh Winning, between 11am and 1pm.

Orders will also be taken for further copies over and above the initial 20.

There is no charge and light refreshments will be available during the presentation.

Further information is available from Kathleen Duggan, on 0191-373 3489.

via History group launches new publication on colourful local characters and landmarks (From The Northern Echo).

Top award for Ushaw Moor Kids Club (From The Northern Echo)

February 21, 2014 Leave a comment

A KIDS’ club has been honoured for its work encouraging children to follow healthy lifestyles.

Ushaw Moor Kids Club received an Outstanding Energy Club Award from Sports Leaders UK.

The national group praised the club’s work in encouraging children to take part in physical activity, recruiting parent volunteers and running cooking workshops.

The club was established in Ushaw Moor, near Durham, a year ago this week.

Chairman John Booth said: “We are delighted to receive this award.

“The parents have a lot of fun and are as daft as the kids. It’s brilliant to see the kids interacting with the adults in a fun way.”

Emily Burns, from Sports Leaders UK, said: “Ushaw Moor Kids Club have had so much parent support which is great to see in a village.”

via Top award for Ushaw Moor Kids Club (From The Northern Echo).

Children from Silver Tree Primary – Name New Housing Development

December 23, 2013 Leave a comment

A PRIMARY school pupil has been chosen to name a new housing development in her village.

Children from Silver Tree Primary School, in Ushaw Moor, near Durham, were set the challenge by housing company, Keepmoat.

The organisation has just completed an older persons’ accommodation scheme on behalf of social housing provider Housing Hartlepool, in Skippers Meadow, Ushaw Moor.

Before work on the development began, staff from Keepmoat visited the school to talk to the children and highlighted the dangers of playing on building sites.

The Hebburn-based firm joined the children, aged between four and 11-years-old, at their daily assembly, showed them an interactive DVD and invited them to think of a new name for the development.

Paisley Eldridge was the lucky winner with her chosen name of Silver Tree Gardens.

The 11-year-old was presented with gift vouchers by Keepmoat staff during a special ceremony held earlier this month.

She was also presented with a plaque, which will be placed in the school’s garden alongside a Silver Birch tree planted to mark the new development.

Paisley said: “I was really pleased that my name was selected and that I was able to plant the tree in the school garden.

“When me and my friends are older we can go back and see how it has grown and be really proud of it.”

via Name for housing development chosen by pupil From The Northern Echo.

Ushaw Historic Catholic Seminary could become Durham University college

December 19, 2013 Leave a comment

 

TALKS have begun which could see a historic former Catholic seminary reborn as a university college.

Bosses from Durham University and the Roman Catholic Church are in negotiations over the future of Ushaw College, a 200-year-old priests’ training school which counts among its alumni Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman, Bishop Hugh Lindsay and comedians Johnny Vegas and Alfie Joey.

The seminary, at Ushaw Moor, near Durham, closed in July 2011, amid falling rolls and worsening finances.

But days before the doors closed plans were announced to turn the Grade I and II-listed buildings into an extension of Durham University’s world-leading Centre for Catholic Studies, under the new name of The International Centre for Advanced Catholic Studies.

Today (Wednesday, December 18), the University and Church announced they were in talks which could see most of the college occupied and managed by the University, while still owned and overseen by the Church.

They also signed a so-called Heads of Terms agreement, cementing the partnership.

Professor Chris Higgins, vice-chancellor of Durham University, said: “The signing of the Heads of Terms marks a significant step in exploring the potential opportunities for this historically important site.

“We look forward to working with the Ushaw trustees and with the many communities that have an interest in supporting the future of the college to ensure that its collections are preserved intact in Durham and are made more widely available to the community as well as to educators and researchers from the University and around the world.”

Bishop Terence Drainey, Bishop of Middlesbrough and acting chair of the college’s trustees, said: “We are delighted that the work and efforts of the joint steering group for the Ushaw project have resulted in a proposal that could allow the heritage of Ushaw College, its collections and library, as well as its educational traditions, to continue and to secure a future for this very important estate within the Catholic community.”

Prof Paul Murray, dean and director of the University’s Centre for Catholic Studies, said the collaboration held real promise for the region, the national and international Catholic community and the international scholarly community and urged supporters to come forward to get involved.

via Historic Catholic seminary could become Durham University college From The Northern Echo.