From special measures to a spectacular mission – Oak View Academy are ready for a tilt at the Christmas singles charts.
Just two years ago the school in Winsford was ranked second worst in the country, according to Government league tables.
Then, in 2014, it became part of Chester -based charitable organisation North West Academies Trust, and an incredible transformation got under way.
Today, Oak View ranks in the top 5% in the country for progress in reading and is making huge strides across all areas of education.
To celebrate – and to help continue the improvement – children have recorded a version of Wizzard’s I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday and hope to reach the Top 30 in time for Santa.
The underlying aim is to help raise the £100,000 needed to fund a Speech and Language Therapist at the school for a minimum of three years. It is hoped that during this period, this service will become self-funding as it is rolled out to other local schools.
Headteacher Fiona Rimmer said: “Visiting the recording studio in Stoke was a once in a lifetime opportunity and the choir thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
“The children put so much effort into this song, it really shines through. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
Oak View draws its 180 pupils, aged between three and 11, from an area of significant social deprivation.
With the support of NWAT, it reopened with new management and staff during Easter 2014 and now looks on course to being classed as ‘good’ at its first Ofsted inspection.
Kevin Hassett, school governor, came up with the idea of a Christmas single. Kevin, who also volunteers with the Speak First charity, has seen first hand the results of having speech therapists in nurseries.
He explained: “Clearly children arriving at nursery aged three unable to speak puts them well behind the curve educationally and their consequent disengagement from learning leads to behavioural problems which disrupt not only their own education but also that of all the children around them throughout their school careers.
“So please support our efforts to fund a speech therapist at Oak View and help improve the life chances of our pupils.”
The song, which costs 99p will be released as a digital single, available for download only on Apple iTunes, Googleplay and Amazon on Friday, December 16. But you don’t have to wait, it’s available for pre-order now.