Blade Education
Blade Education 

31st July 2018

Southend Schools Festival of Remembrance

Today is the final day of the SSFR project in its current form. We would like to say a big thank you to all of those children, adults, volunteers, professionals and communities that came together to make this such an amazing community heritage project. The work will not end and the legacy of the Learning Materials produced thanks to Heritage Lottery Funding and contributions from the Leigh Town Council and Southend Borough Council as well as our brilliant volunteers who gave well over 4,000 hours of time to make this a very special project. For informantion about the project please see the website at:

Thursday 21st June 2018

SSFR Belfairs Exhibition and Performance

Thank you too John Adams and the brilliant performers at Belfairs school who took part in an exhibition and perofmance of local heritage based around characters who lived in Southend-on-Sea during the Great War period (1914-1919). With hundreds of visitors from the school community we were very proud of the work that all of the participants did to make local heritage come alive. The exhibition will also go on to form part of a larger exhibition of local heritage over the centenary of the end of the Great War.
For more information please see the website at:

8th June 2018

Blade Education are very happy to announce that the securing of National Lottery Awards for All funding for a project called Understanding Attachment that will build on the work undertaken in the What's Happening To Me? project to enable Foster Carers and Looked After Children to work together to explore the reasons for the high rate of placement breakdown in the foster care system. More will be announced later in the year.

Thursday 10th May 2018

WLJS Great War Films

With a lot of hard work from the pupils of the West Leigh Junior School the first of the WLJS Great War films has been finished. It will be shared with parents and students at the school at their Summer Fare as well as being used as a learning tool for the centenary year of the Great War Armistice in 2018/2019 school year.
Our amazing project playwright Sam Leirens has worked with the children to produce a performance that is both sweet and educational and our thanks go to Sam and all of the children working with us. 

If you would like to see the WLJS Great War films, please go to our SSFR website at:


Wednesday 18th April 2018

SSFR Sutton Road Visit

Thank you to everyone who attended the Southend Schools Festival of Remembrance day at the Sutton Road Cemetery in Southend. It was a beautiful day and with the help of our experts we were able to learn a lot about the Great War heritage of the cemetery. For further information and photos from the day please see the SSFR website at


Friday 16th March 2018

What's Happening To Me? launch

We would like to invite you to join us for the What's Happening To Me? Project Pilot launch on Friday 16th March 2018, at 1630 for the 21 Gallery by Southend-on-Sea pier. 

We have worked with some brilliant members of the Southend Fostering Community to bring together what we hope will be the start of a new service that provides help to children and young people at one of the most stressful times they might ever experience. For further information on the project please see the WHTM? website at and come and join us at the 21 Gallery on Friday afternoon if you can or contact us at

Thursday 4th January 2018

SSFR Research Group

Calling all volunteers interested in Great War Southend-on-Sea!
The next stage of the SSFR project is now under way and we are looking for voluneer researchers to help us look into the lives of the people who lived and died in Southend-on-Sea during the war period. The project will be producing a Commonwealth War Graves trail that will include people from the Great War era and also an online resource with stories from Southenders all did there bit for King and country. 

If you are interested in joining, then please email us at:


December 2017

SSFR WW1 Christmas Sessions

A good festive time was had by the children and adults who took part in the SSFR Great War Christmas Sessions this month.

There was holly and ivy, there were presents and games, there were Christmas cards and sweets all wrapped up in an educational wrapper.

Led by Project Leader Beth Hooper and the wonderful Val Faulkes from our Steering Group, the sessions were perfectly placed to give the pupils a taste of what the world was like for children 100 years ago.

Wednesday 22nd November 2017

SSFR praised by Prime Minister, Theresa May.

Sunday 12th November 2017
Southend Schools Festival of Remembrance Poppy Installation

6000 children's poppies, 4000 visitors, 60 volunteers all came together this week to make the SSFR Poppy Installation an amazing success. Our huge thanks go to everyone that helped or visited this wonderful celebration of Remembrance in the week before Remembrance Sunday on the Rose Garden below Southend Cenotaph. For further information please see the SSFR Exhibition page on the SSFR website at:

Wednesday 11th October 2017

Poppy Making at Edwards Hall

What a fantastic day we had and many thanks to the staff and pupils at Edwards Hall School who made nearly 500 clay poppies with us in just one day! All of the children came to the school hall in their year groups and with the help of Project Artist, Mary Lister and our wonderful volunteers each made a poppy that will be part of the SSFR  - Southend Schools Festival of Remembrance - exhibition in November. 
To find out more please see the SSFR website at:

Thursday 21st September

SSFR Leaflet

If you would like to know more about the SSFR Project, them you can now download the PDF of our leaflet. It gives details of the project, our project partners and funders as well as information on how to get involved and information on our celebration of remembrance in November.
SSFR Leaflet Page

Monday 21st August

SSFR in Parliament.

MP for Southend West and patron of the Leigh Branch of the Royal British Legion, Sir David Amess, praised the work of the project partners in his adjournment speech at the end of the last Parliamentary session. " I am delighted to say that the Royal British Legion's "Poppies: Wave" event was a huge success in Southend, with thousands coming to see it. I am also happy to say that Bob O'Leary, the honourary secretary of the local Royal British Legion, succssfully applied for heritage lottery funding for a Southend schools festival of remembrance, which will be run by the not-for-profit organisation Blade Education. I know i will be a great success.
For the full transcript see

Wednesday 2nd August 2017

SSFR in the Leigh Times.

A very nicely written article in the Leigh Times appeared this week with quotes from the SSFR team, RBL Leigh-on-Sea's very own Bob O'Leary and even Sir David Amess. Thank you to all who contributed!

If you'd like to read the article - Leigh Times Article Link

Thursday 6th July 2017

Poppies Poppies Everywhere.

The Southend Schools Festival of Remembrance moved into its next phase this month with a huge Poppy making effort from the children of Hingaur Primary and Nursery School. Guided by the creative hands of SSFR Project Artist Mary Lister and many helpers from our Steering Group, children from Reception all the way up to Year 6 made their own clay poppy – or poppies in some enthusiastic cases!

The design is based on the Corn Poppy which is the most common poppy type in Northern Europe and has a nice symmetrical design that gives the children a lot of room for personalisation while keeping to the basic pattern of the poppy we recognise as the symbol of remembrance.

So, that’s about 10% of our poppies made, just a few to go for November.

Sunday 25th June 2017

Visiting the Wave

The Southend Schools Festival of Remembrance project is in full swing working with the schools in the borough to reconnect pupils with the importance of remembrance. We started off with visits to the Poppy Wave Exhibition in Gunner’s Park, Shoeburyness, and spent time with the children helping them understand the meaning of the poppy and the exhibition.

The Poppy Wave exhibition was a 14-18now production by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper that was built using poppies from the original Tower of London 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' exhibition that marked the 100 year anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War in 2014.

We attended the closing of the exhibition on June 25th and are now moving on to work with the children on Southend to produce their own Remembrance Exhibition in November 2017.

For further information please see our project website at:

Monday 8th May 2017

Southend Schools Festival of Remembrance

We are very happy to announce that we now have the official go ahead to begin work on the Southend Schools Festival of Remembrance. Thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund we will be working with both Primary and Secondary schools in Southend-on-Sea to produce a remembrance event and run a series of classroom bases sessions that cover many aspects of remembrance. Working in partnership with the Leigh-on-Sea branch of the Royal British Legion we hope to bring together a lot of children and adults to reinforce the importance of paying our respects to those who have given us everything. 

Saturday 22nd April 2017

Celebrating Leigh Together

A huge thank you to everyone who helped to make the Celebrating Leigh Together exhibition and party such a brilliant success.
Hundreds of Leigh-on-Sea reseidents came together to celebrate the work of our amazing community organisations.

See the main CLT page for details: Celebrate Leigh Together

Friday 10th March 2017

Celebrate Leigh Together Banner Making

A Huge thank you to everyone that came to join us at the Leigh Community Centre to make our fabulous CLT banners. I a few hours we went from having a set of black and white letters to an amazing riot of colours and images. They will be centre stage at the Celebrating Leigh Together exhibition on Saturday, 22nd April between 10am and 2pm.
For more information please see our Celebrating Leigh Together page.

Thursday 16th February 2017

'What Is Happening To Me?' pilot funding

We are very happy to announce that Blade Education has been successful in securing funding from the Big Lottery Fund to run a pilot for the What Is Happening To Me? project. WIHTM? will provide information for children betwen 12 and 16 who enter the care system and are currently given very little of this type of help. Working with the Fostering community we aim to research what children need to help them to understand the process they are going through and how we can help them best at this often traumatic time. More details will be published later in the project.

Friday 6th January 2017

Celebrating Leigh Together

CLT is a project that aims to bring the younger and older generations of the Leigh-on-Sea community together to
hold an exhibition titled 'What Leigh Means to Me' and also to celebrate
the work of our local community organisations with a tea time party at
the Leigh Community Centre. Thanks to funding from the Celebrate! fund at the Big Lottery we are able to recognise the work that volunteers all over the area do that makes Leigh-on-Sea a culturally richer place to live.

For more information please see the full web page Celebrate Leigh

Wednesday November 23rd 2016

Hinguar Connecting Parents A Day In The Life

We are happy to announce that the latest addition to the Hinguar Connecting Parents project has been published on the HCP website and that with the help of the children, staff, parents and carers of the EYFS unit, parents and carers can now get a much better insight at how their children are taught so that they can support them more effectively to get the most from their education.

The link to the film page is

Wednesday 14th September 2016

Hinguar Connecting Parents has been featured on the A Better Start Southend website. This project has been running for 2 years and has helped many parents to understand how to help their child when they begin school at the Hinguar Primary and Nursery School. See more


Wednesday 6th July 2016


Blade Education and West Leigh Infant School Launch Lost Souls Project


Who do you remember from the Great War...?


The Lost Souls Project will connect the children at West Leigh Infants School to a real sense of personal local history from this period by introducing them to the legacy left behind by the people who lived in Leigh in 1914-1919.  With the help of a team of expert volunteers the families at WLIS will be encouraged to find their own relatives from this time.


With funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund this project was launched on Friday 1st July with the help of Cllr Carole Mulroney and the children from West Leigh Infant School.  Watch this space for new developments which will be coming shortly....




Tuesday 17/11/2015


Hinguar Connecting Parents


We're delighted to announce that over a 100 people have responded to the work that's been taking place in Hinguar Primary and Nursery School.  Even more exciting is that the results are overwhelmingly positive.


If anyone would like to take a look please visit the site if you would like to view the films please email for the password.  We'd love to know what you think!


Fabulous Children!

Thur, 16/04/2015

Hinguar Connecting Parents

Blade Education is delighted to announce that we are joining forces with Hinguar Primary & Nursery School and Southend A Better Start to explore how film and technology can be used to support families and teaching staff when getting children ready for school. 

Hinguar Connecting Parents is an ambitious, school community lead pilot project to give parents an opportunity to see inside the classroom by creating insider films and using technology to help teachers connect with parents informed by our work in this field since 2006.

It will focus on the specific needs of Hinguar Primary and Nursery School and every parent will be consulted on how the school communicates with them so everyone gets the information they need.

HCP will enable parents to have greater access to their child's learning without needing to be onsite and disrupt lessons and will allow those who are properly supporting their children to know they are getting it right. 

In line with A Better Start outcomes this project that will also be gathering evidence on what works.  If you’d like to find out more please visit us again or join us on Facebook! 


Mon, 26/01/2015

Successful Launch of Innovative Domestic Abuse Awareness Training for Schools

Students from Shoeburyness High School have taken part in unique domestic abuse awareness lessons funded by the Southend Success for All Children Fund and delivered by local not for profit organisation Blade Education. The lessons are part of the Southend: Start The Conversation (SSTC) project that helps young people to understand what domestic abuse is so that they are able to recognise it if it ever happens to them or anyone they know.

Based around specially produced information films that were made in consultation with over 400 professionals, including the police and parents, and are age appropriate, SSTC gives pupils an example of domestic abuse and shows them what they need to know in terms of the law around domestic abuse and getting help for themselves or someone else. During the lessons pupils are asked to think how the project could be improved. This allows everyone taking part to actively think about what they have seen and heard in a constructive manner that improves their understanding of the subject over a method that would simply present the issue and not discuss the implications.

SSTC has had a 99% success rate in raising children's awareness of domestic abuse and helping them understand the issues involved. By bringing the pupils into the process and engaging them with the subject, the project has shown that domestic abuse awareness is not something that cannot be taught and that with the right resources helping all children to understand what domestic abuse is, that it is a criminal act, and that there is help available.

SSTC session leader, Beth Hooper has been impressed by the work that the pupils of Shoeburyness High School have done. "Throughout the sessions the children have taken this subject very seriously and have offered thoughtful and sometimes very interesting comments about domestic abuse awareness and how it affects people of their age. The aim here is for no-one to say they accepted domestic abuse because they thought it was normal. Everyone needs to know that this is a crime before it happens - just as we all know that murder or rape is a crime, domestic abuse destroys lives and our children need to know about it without frightening them."

Tue, 11/11/2014


Students from the Westborough School Commemorate the Great War Dead at North Road Burial Ground.  

Handmade poppies in all different sizes and modelled from red earthenware clay have been placed on the war graves of the service men and women buried at the North Road Burial Ground in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. Year 6 Students from the Westborough School have paid their respects to those who fought and died in the Great War and WW2 by creating individual hand-made poppies under the direction of local artist and Year 6 teacher, Violette Dooley, who was inspired by the poppies being laid at the Tower of London. Mrs Dooley was full of praise for the children's work, "This hands on approach is a great way of learning history and I'm so proud of all of the Westborough pupils hard work."

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Executive Councillor for Community Development, Councillor Ian Gilbert said: “We are very grateful to Westborough School for its continuing support for North Road cemetery, and especially to year 6 for this very special act of Remembrance.

“It is particularly moving to find that children in our borough have taken such care to make and place these poppies in memory of those lost in past conflicts.”


The 4 inch poppies were modelled from clay before being painted red and black by the school children. Each poppy was placed on one of the many war graves at North Road and the children learned of the stories of those who gave their lives from members of the Friends of North Road and the Essex Society for Family History.


Beth Hooper from the Friends of North Road Burial Ground, who has worked with school children and volunteers on projects at the site was happy to take part in the event. "We are very proud to support pupils from The Westborough School who have used their creativity to pay tribute to those who died in the Great War of 1914-18. These handmade poppies are a wonderful tribute to those who died in both World Wars."


"In 2012 Blade Education, with the help of staff and children from The Westborough School and the Friends of North Road, created a community heritage trail as part of the Shared Spaces project.  In 2014, we are delighted to support the students from The Westborough School in placing their hand made ceramic poppies on the war graves as their tribute to those that died in the Great War and World War II. "


The Friends of North Road is a local community organisation that is always looking for new members.  It is our aim to build connections between the past and future generations of Southend-on-Sea.


Tue, 17/06/2014

Congratulations to Everyone Involved in the Successful Southend A Better Start Bid


The Preschool Learning Alliance, SouthendonSea Borough Council and the local community are celebrating after being awarded £40m from Big Lottery Fund to help parents in Southend give their children a better start in life.

The Alliance and its partners have been awarded the funding as part of the Big Lottery Fund’s ‘Fulfilling Lives: A Better Start’ initiative to work with the local community to shape and redesign services during pregnancy and early childhood (0 – 3 years).

The plan, ‘Our Children, Our Community, Our Future’, has been developed with local parents, the community and professionals, to put prevention at the heart of the way services are delivered. It will include the development of an internationally
recognised centre for excellence, innovation and best practice for early years, where parents and professionals can come together to shape and design services.

The funding, which is intended to improve communication and language, social and emotional development, and diet and nutrition, will be focussed on six main wards: Kursaal, Milton, Westborough, Victoria, Shoeburyness and West Shoebury — but the learning, best practice and opportunities will be shared across Southend
onSea and beyond, ensuring that our children are given a better start in life.

Neil Leitch, Chief Executive of the Pre
school Learning Alliance, said:
“We are delighted to have been awarded this funding. The ‘Our Children, Our Community, Our Future’ project will transform the lives of local children and families, and deliver lasting change for the wider Southend community. This decision is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Southend team, the Council and all our local partners who have made this ambitious vision a reality.”

Rob Tinlin, Chief Executive of Southend
onSea Borough Council, a partner in the project, added:
"This is a real vote of confidence in Southend and will mean that we can make a real sea change for young people and develop new opportunities for children and their families and communities, now and into the future. Our ambition is bold and unflinching in a Borough that is being transformed with rewarding career prospects, safer public spaces and engaged communities, a place where we will help to give children the best start in life.”

Jonathan Clark, Big Lottery Fund Policy and Learning Manager, said:
“Parents want the best for their children and as a society we know that what happens in the first three years of life profoundly affects a child’s future life chances. A poor start in life can affect your health, wellbeing, outlook on life and how you form relationships. Prevention matters more in the early years as we have a much greater understanding of what can and might improve the life chances of a future generation, that is why this investment is focusing on the three key areas of social and emotional development, nutrition, and language and communication development.”

The funding follows a Big Lottery Funding development grant of £199,260 in August 2013, which was awarded to ‘Our Children, Our Community, Our Future’ to support its long
term growth.

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