Walton Hall Academy’s garden receives makeover by Staffordshire Alliance

20 rail workers from the Staffordshire Alliance volunteered to help transform Walton Hall Academy’s garden to make it more accessible and revive many of its features.

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The Staffordshire Alliance approached the Academy, to offer assistance in reviving some of the gardens features. Down to the improvements completed by our volunteers, the garden is now accessible to pupils from Walton Hall’s partner schools, Blackfriars and The Coppice in Newcastle, which form the Shaw Education Multi-Academy Trust.

To commemorate, the school held a competition to come up with a name for the newly improved garden. Joint winners were pupils Chris Podmore and Thomas Bailey with the name ‘Growing magic in commemoration of James Cadman DSC’. The name acknowledges Walton Hall’s former owner who was also a High Sheriff of Staffordshire and received the Distinguished Service Cross for his service during the First World War.

On Friday 17 October, Walton Hall’s head of academy Pauline Carmichael, representatives of the staff, students and Shaw Education Trust were joined by team members from the Staffordshire Alliance to hold a naming ceremony with a dedicated plaque. Pauline said: “With the alliance having made such a wonderful job of refurbishing the garden area, we thought it would be fitting for the children to rename it.”

Ian Jones, head of the Staffordshire Alliance, said: “Whilst the day job is to deliver Network Rail’s £250 million programme of improvements between Stafford and Crewe, we are also committed to working with the community to leave a positive lasting legacy and were only too happy to help give Walton Hall’s garden area a new lease of life.”

Staffordshire Alliance

The Stafford Area Improvements Programme is being delivered by the Staffordshire Alliance – a partnership of VolkerRail, Atkins, Laing O’Rourke and Network Rail, working as part of a new collaborative contract that will help to transform the delivery of rail infrastructure projects in the UK.

As part of the Stafford Area Improvements Programme, the Staffordshire Alliance has already completed linespeed improvements between Crewe and Norton Bridge and is currently undertaking the complete resignalling of Stafford station and surrounding area, as well as the construction of six miles of new railway in the Norton Bridge area. These works are designed to increase capacity and improve reliability on the West Coast main line by removing a major bottleneck through the Stafford area.

Walton Hall Academy

Based in Eccleshall, Walton Hall Academy provides education for children aged 11 to 19 with moderate to complex learning difficulties, autism and emotional and social difficulties. The academy is also part of the Shaw Education Trust, along with two other Staffordshire academies, the Blackfriars and Coppice Academies in Newcastle-under-Lyme. By created a multi-academy trust, the Shaw Trust aims to focus on supporting special schools and mainstream schools serving disadvantaged communities.