Winter Wonderland and 2019 in review

Last night we celebrated the end of the year (and indeed end of the decade) in style, as our hall was magically transformed into our Winter Wonderland. In celebration of the festive season, we opened our doors to our local community to come together and share some Christmas cheer. Hundreds of people attended our event which was packed full of festive fun. From festive cakes, bakes, decorations and real reindeers, there was plenty to get involved in. We listened to music from NLA students, we ate food from all over the world, there were Christmas hampers and raffles to be won, and we were even joined on the day by Santa himself.

“Winter Wonderland is our community celebration for the festive season,” says Patrick Ottley-O’Connor, NLA’s executive principal. “Over 400 members of our school and wider community came together in song, dance, food and entertainment. Activities ranged from a bouncy snow globe and horse racing to real reindeer and Father Christmas himself!”

It’s a good time to reflect on 2019 and all the things we’ve achieved and the events that we’ve hosted. We started the year with our annual pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, which was a great success and a brilliant way to ring in the new year. 2019 has seen our annual Northern Schools Trust Futureproof Your Career event, and we celebrated wildlife as we incubated and hatched baby chicks as part of our Creation of Life project.

In April, we celebrated the seasons with our Spring Concert, and we saw students take part in activities including the Mersey Adventure Sailing Trust Apprenticeship Cup. The rest of the year saw us playing host to our inaugural arts festival, our festival of science and maths – Sam Festival – and some of our students have even travelled across the continent to soak up some Spanish sunshine and Catalonian culture, in Barcelona.

“As well as the amazing academic achievements this year, our students have accessed some amazing experiences, including cutting edge scientific research, extracting DNA from our bees and polystyrene digesting grubs with our very own Professor David Hornby,” says Ottley-O’Connor.

“In addition, over 1,000 members of our community joined us for our annual Firework Display.”

He adds: “Reflecting on 2019, we have so much to celebrate, but we are even more ambitious for 2020!

“Students are working hard to improve on performance in 2020, with increased & renewed effort from our talented & dedicated staff to support & challenge all students to keep improving.”