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across the Weald and South East

Friday 31st January 2020, The High Weald Academy’s new 21st century building was officially opened.


To celebrate the official opening of new building, the unveiling ceremony revealed the winning students of the academy artwork competition, whose work will adorn the walls of the building to commemorate the event.  Congratulations to:

‘Peace in the Weald’

By Max Bunyan, Year 7

‘New beginnings’

By James Sanders, Year 7

‘Living in Peace’

By Sam De Sagun, Year 9


Mr Daniel Hatley, Executive Principal for The High Weald Academy said: “There’s really no comparison between the new building and what we had before.  It’s visible to see as you walk around the school that the students and staff enjoy and are extremely proud of the new surroundings.  On behalf of The High Weald Academy community, I would like to thank everyone involved, who I know worked tirelessly on the project to build our new school.”

The multi-million-pound build started in July 2018 and in November 2019 staff and students moved into their new school.  The school was previously housed in a 1970’s building, which had been modified over the years to meet educational requirements, but was deemed no longer fit for purpose. Today The High Weald Academy building is one of the most state-of-the-art learning environments in the area and boasts 69 climate-controlled classrooms and offices, which includes eight science laboratories, three art rooms, five ICT suites and the purpose-built drama studio.

Mrs Lisa Barker, Head of School for The High Weald Academy said: “We are a very family-oriented community school and the new build has really brought us all together.  The building has created so many opportunities, already we have been able to expand our curriculum.  We now run an extended drama programme and added a new subject to our arts programme, photography. The eight new science laboratories have enabled us to increase practical learning, which all the students really enjoy. The overall impact is that we are seeing increasing levels of student academic success.

“This is just the beginning, thanks to the building I now have the opportunity to make exciting plans for the future to expand and broaden our educational offering.  Ensuring we continue to make a positive difference in the classroom equipping our students to be successful.”

In preparation to celebrate the official opening of the new academy building, Grierson Galleries and The Hive launched an artwork competition in December 2019, inviting students at The High Weald Academy to create artwork, using any medium, based on the theme of the rolling landscape of the Weald.  Over 200 entries were received and the winning pieces have been professionally framed, courtesy of Frame Place, Cranbrook, and will be permanently displayed in the school atrium.

Annie Watsham, Founder of Grierson Galleries, located at The Hive in Cranbrook said: “We were delighted by the response, judging of the 200 entries was an extremely difficult task.  The creativity and imagination shown in all the entries were wonderful. Today, it’s been an absolute pleasure to meet the winners. The detail in their pieces successfully captured elements of the Weald and inspired the judges.”

Sam De Sagun, student and winning artist at The High Weald Academy said: “I never expected to win, but I am extremely pleased to have been chosen and have my work on display.”

Tours of the academy followed the unveiling ceremony, showcasing how students are benefitting from modern and up-to-date surroundings.

Mr Ian Daker, Chair of Brook Learning Trust said: “The official opening of The High Weald Academy marks a new era of education opportunities for our learners in the Weald community.  The building provides an inspiring, motivational and creative environment for students to take a proactive role in their learning, to thrive and achieve their personal best.”

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