We place a high priority on looking beyond ‘exams… exams… exams…’ and make a concerted effort to encourage our students to develop more broadly – not just through extra-curricular activities, etc, but also in their wider self and place in the world around them.

A key part of this is our on-going work with the National Arboretum which is an important local monument for encouraging our students to reflect and value their life, as well as the lives of those around them. This deeper spirituality can sometimes be lost amidst the hubbub of school and daily life.

Last year saw Remembrance work, visits and involvement in world record bids, and this year is only following suit.

Last week we took part in the ‘Heartfelt Messages’ art installation at the National Arboretum where artists Nicola Colclough and Najia Bagi are utilising traditional paper-folding techniques and sound to remind us of our own special memories as well as the moments we share with others.

The project is inspired by the millions of letters sent between the Home Front and the front line during World War One and this multi-sensory installation will comprise thousands of messages, housed in origami hearts, individually created by members of the public. From 31 July – 10 November 2017, visitors to the National Memorial Arboretum will be able to watch and hear the installation grow.

Our students have designed over 1,000 origami hearts, accompanied by their own ‘heartfelt messages’ to their loved ones and to those who have sacrificed their lives for the greater good and are commemorated at the National Arboretum.

Elsewhere, we supported the Free Spirit event at Lichfield Cathedral which is seeking to provide a memorial to horses at the National Arboretum, have visitors due in to talk through memorials to the Indian regiments, and are campaigning to have a memorial to Afro-Caribbean soldiers at the site. These projects are alongside our traditional support for Remembrance too.

Lottie Hearn, Assistant Headteacher, said: “Both the Cathedral and the National Arboretum are key vehicles for our work on spirituality in life and it is wonderful to have them so accessible in our locale. The work on the ‘Heartfelt Messages’ campaign is another opportunity for us to support the National Arboretum and to remind our students of their place in the world and alongside those from past generations.”