New academy shares success stories of its students


It’s been a busy first term since Oakmeeds Community College became Burgess Hill Academy – and staff are keen to share their students’ success stories.

A prize giving on October 6 looked back to the efforts of the past academic year and saw 160 students receive awards.

Libby Trotter

Libby Trotter

Among the special achievement awards was the Creative Writing Prize, which went to Jack Cooper, while the Rebecca Pearson Award for Literacy went to Hannah Crouch.

Guest speaker on the day was former head girl, Stephanie Somerville, who presented the awards and entertained the audiencewith her speech about her experiences during her time at the school.

A spokesman for the academy said: “We are very grateful to Oakmeeds Association, who presented the Oakmeeds Association Young Volunteer of the Year Award to Laura Smith, and also thankful for the support by the Burgess Hill Rotary Club, who presented their Newcomer of the Year Award to Mia Pordage.

“Throughout the evening students spoke of their experiences from last year. These ranged from Year 7 camp right through to Year 10 and selecting their option choices.

Leo Woolgar Golds

Leo Woolgar Golds

“It was fantastic to see so many proud friends and family members of the deserved winners.”

An amazing young woman was honoured at an earlier celebration where she was named the More Radio Young Person of the Year.

Libby Trotter, who is in Year 9, developed cancer when she was just 11 years old and endured the amputation of her right arm from the shoulder as well as a year of chemotherapy.

She was nominated for the award by her head of year, Kath McIver, and academy staff were delighted when the youngster received her award during a celebration at the South of England Showground.



Mrs McIver said: “I am constantly amazed at how Libby has adapted to her disability. She is fiercely independent, asking for assistance only when is absolutely necessary. Libby has also learned to write using her left hand.

“Her courage and resilience is an example to us all.”

Like all youngsters their age, students in Year 10 got a taste of adult life when they headed off to their work experience placements.

During a Post 16 Information Evening, the academy, in association with Burgess Hill Business Parks, presented their Work Experience Student of the Year award.



Some 147 students had been placed with companies within Sussex and the surrounding area, with some even travelling up to London.

The award winner was Jack Woodford, who had impressed during his time with Heights Fitness Centre, in Burgess Hill.

Year 9 students welcomed a special guest to the academy as they undertook weekly sessions to improve their communication, teamwork and confidence.

Former Olympic Team GB sprinter Abi Oyepitan joined the 15 students and PE teacher Mr Butcher for a day as part of the Living for Sport project, which was run by Sky Sports.

The scheme looked into six keys to success used by the sporting elite, including ‘mental toughness’ and ‘planning for success’.

Abi told the students about her career and some of the adversity she had to face and overcome. They then took part in several team building games, including creating a new sport.

Abi told the academy: “I had such a lovely time working with your students. It was one of the most rewarding groups I’ve worked with so far.”

The students now intend to plan and carry out a PE lesson with Year 2 students at a local primary school in December.

And finally, a little boy called Leo Woolgar-Golds was presented with an iPad after winning a Fact Find competition.

Leo, who attends neighbouring London Meed Primary School, won the competition during Burgess Hill Academy’s recent open evening.

He received his prize from the academy’s PE teacher and director of key stage 3, Ms McGeough, and was said to be “delighted”.

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