Free Childcare!

April 18th, 2016

Dear Parent,

Did you know that your two-year-old daughter/son could qualify for up to 15 hours of free childcare every week?

You are eligible if:
You have a child who has or is turning two-years-old

Plus receiving one of the following:
• A household income of less than £16,190 per year
• Job Seeker’s Allowance
• Income Support
• Employment and Support Allowance

Application forms are available online: www.westminster.gov.uk/information-childcare or you can request a paper copy. If you need help with your application, please contact your nearest Children’s Centre Outreach team:

Queen’s Park: 020 7641 5834/5848
Harrow Road: 020 7641 4850
Westbourne: 020 7641 4308/4312
Bayswater and Queensway: 020 7641 4882

St Mary Mags project gets planning permission

December 18th, 2015

St Mary Magdalene’s in Paddington with Father Henry and members of the community.The St Mary Magdalene Paddington’s Living Heritage project has now got planning permission. On Tuesday evening Westminster Council’s planning committee gave approval for a new building to adjoin St Mary Magdalene Church, which will allow it to operate as a centre for arts and heritage. ( Please click here for press release. )

Over 100 residents and local organisations wrote to the Council supporting the proposals. The whole Mary Mags team thanks everyone for their support and their efforts on behalf of the project. It’s been tremendous, and has helped get us to this stage.

Planning permission gives the green light to proceed to our next and most challenging task – raising another £2.5 million by next July, to match £4.3 million already identified from the Heritage Lottery Fund and others. This will fund the new building, works to repair and conserve the church, and a major programme of heritage and cultural activities. ( You can see a model of the new building in the photo. )

We’ll be updating the website and will keep you informed of progress as we head into 2016 ( see www.marymags.org ). Or do get in touch for more information – toby@pdt.org.uk.

WA alumnus honoured with Diana Award

December 18th, 2015

Mohammed Abdul Jalil has been honoured with the Diana AwardWestminster Academy is delighted to announce that Mohammed Abdul Jalil has been honoured with the Diana Award. The Diana Award, set up in memory of Princess Diana’s belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better, has Prime Minister David Cameron as Patron and the support of the HRH Duke of Cambridge and HRH Prince Harry.

Mohammed Abdul Jalil (AJ) received the Diana Award for being a Diana Champion Volunteer at Westminster Academy and the surrounding area.

As a Volunteer Police Cadet, AJ has been actively engaged in keeping communities safe for the past three years. He has also led younger cadets and has inspired them to have a positive impact on the local area. Additionally, AJ has supported older members of the community by volunteering with Open Age at Westminster Academy. As well as helping to organise events for the group, AJ has been involved in weekly sessions to help Open Age members with technology, giving them the confidence to use the internet and mobile phones.

Since 1999, the Diana Award has recognised over 44,000 young people who have made a positive difference to the lives of others and their communities.  The Diana Award believe that young people should be: encouraged for their contributions to society, empowered to reach their full potential and they should be engaged in social action as early in life as possible.

Acting Principal, Dr Rana, said,

“At Westminster Academy we place high value on active citizenship, and as such are extremely proud of AJ. The Diana Award will encourage him to continue his volunteer work and will inspire other young people to volunteer in their schools and communities.”

Tessy Ojo, CEO of the Diana Award, added,

“The Diana Award is proud to recognise young volunteers, like Mohammed, who have the confidence and courage to stand up for what they believe. The Diana Champion Volunteer Award is presented to inspirational young people who have made a positive difference in their communities. With a growing network of over 44,000 Award Holders, we are building a force of young people who are committed to take social action and improve our communities.”

AJ recently completed the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme at Westminster Academy and is now pursuing his passion for media at Bournemouth University.

Westminster Academy wins Mayor of London’s elite Gold Club Award

December 18th, 2015

London Schools' Gold Club Awards - 25 Sep 15Westminster Academy is proud to announce that it has again won a Mayor of London’s Gold Club Award, making the Academy the only secondary school in Westminster to be part of the London Schools Gold Club for 2015-2016.

At the Gold Club Awards and launch of the 2015-2016 programme at City Hall last Friday, Westminster Academy was among only 7% of primary and secondary schools in London eligible to become Gold Club members. The annual scheme identifies and celebrates exceptional schools in London who are succeeding with their pupils, in particular schools who are ‘bucking the trend’.

With a growing culture of success at Westminster Academy, students and staff alike place high value on the improvements and achievements made in recent years, with over 70% of all students consistently achieving A*-C in core subjects and the school consistently being in the top 1% nationally in terms of progress measures for its ‘Best 8 Score’ including English and maths. The Sixth Form at Westminster Academy has also made rapid improvements, with 80% A*-A grades this year. The Academy attributes its achievements to its highly personalised approach and its focus on developing the spiritual, moral, social, cultural, intellectual and physical potential of students through a rich extra-curricular programme, International Business and Enterprise specialism and its partnership with the Royal Society of Medicine.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson commented,

“Congratulations to Westminster Academy for its outstanding achievements and for the hard work of its pupils and teaching staff. London schools are going from strength to strength and our Gold Club members are testament to the fact all schools can aspire to attain excellence for all their pupils, whatever their circumstances. The Gold Club is a great platform for schools to share their bright ideas and approaches to enable every one of their pupils to achieve terrific results.”

This award comes as Westminster Academy’s long serving Principal, Ms Smita Bora, has been offered the opportunity to work with the Academy’s sponsors to further their educational strategy. To ensure a smooth transition and sustainability of the Academy’s unique vision and ethos, Dr Saima Rana will be appointed as Acting Principal from 01 October 2015. Ms Smita Bora will remain part of the Westminster Academy fraternity, continuing her invaluable work with the Academy’s educational, community and business partners in her new role but she is delighted to be handing over the Principalship to Dr Rana:

“I am proud to have served Westminster Academy for the last ten years and I am thrilled that Dr Rana will be continuing the outstanding achievements we have led together over the last four years.”

New Academy Principal, Dr Saima Rana, said,

“This is a great Academy; I am deeply honoured to be the Principal at this time of transition. I am completely dedicated to maintaining the highest standards which have made Westminster Academy an outstanding academy in all respects. The Academy is all about fulfilling the highest aspirations of every child and I will lead this academy with the values of fairness, integrity and honesty. Because every child matters to me, I will ensure that every child is safe, successful and reaches the very limits of their ability so that when they leave they are powerful citizens of the future; this is what the Academy was under Ms Bora and will continue to be under my leadership.”

Paddington Festival Gala Awards

December 18th, 2015

The inaugural Paddington Festival Gala Awards event took place on Wednesday 14th October, at Paddington Arts in Woodfield Road W9 2BE.

Paddington Festival Gala 'All the world's a stage' award to Westbourne Forum with particular reference to the Beach Festival.Westbourne Forum won an “All the world’s a stage” award for best festival 2015, and was noted for our previous Beach Festival. These awards cover a variety of events in different wards over the summer of 2015.

Paddington Festival Gala 'Linda Heavy' award to Westbourne Forum Committee MemberThere were also awards for other people associated with Westbourne, including Jason Swerling who received a “Get Involved” Linda Heavy Award.

The Gala Awards is a free event that has been designed to celebrate the talents of our local performers and the opportunity to offer public thanks to individuals & organisations that contribute to our local community. The well attended event included the Westbourne Councillors and Karen Buck, our local MP. Next year should be even better.