The Heath Academy Trust

a primary multi-academy trust, leading learning in east Dorset

Children bring festive cheer to the end of term

Hundreds of children from one Dorset education trust have brought festive cheer to the end of term.

The six schools of Heath Academy Trust have been busy staging their Christmas nativities and shows to delighted families.

Oakhurst First School in West Moors travelled through the ages from ancient Rome to the 21st century in its show called ‘How Christmas Came to Be’.

Children from all year groups – including the Nursery – took part, performing as Romans, Vikings, Cromwellian soldiers plus traditional nativity and Christmas characters.

Over at Three Legged Cross First School the children performed ‘Nativity Rock’ – an uplifting version of the traditional story with a number of new songs which were performed with actions.

St Mary’s First School West moors nativity and christingle.

St Ives Primary staged two shows, with its younger children performing in ‘A Midwife Crisis’ and older pupils giving laugh out loud performances in Pirates of the Curry Bean.

For St James CE First School in Alderholt it was a very traditional nativity for its nursery and reception children while pupils in Years 1 to 4 staged a show called ‘It’s a Cracker’.

At Sixpenny Handley First School the staff and children staged a nativity at the local church, led by its reception and year 1 children, while Years 2 to 4 children performed in a pantomime version of Aladdin.

And at St Mary’s CE First School the children showed how festivities are celebrated around the globe in their production of ‘Christmas Around the World.’

Year 4 children have also been singing Christmas carols to residents of care homes and creating Christingles for a special service at St Mary’s Church, in which the school’s reception children also performed the nativity.

Three Legged Cross First School nativity 2019.

Heath Academy Trust CEO, Justine Horn, said: “This really is a magical time of the year, which our children and parents love.

“I’d like to thank all the staff whose hard work makes these unforgettable moments in a child’s life possible.”

Rachael relishes role at rural school

One of Dorset’s smallest rural schools has welcomed a new headteacher to spearhead its role in the village community.

Sixpenny Handley First School in North Dorset – which has just 89 pupils – is now led by Rachael Musselwhite.

And Rachael’s first mission is to develop stronger links for the Heath Academy Trust (HAT) school with the village community.

She said: “It is a privilege to join Sixpenny Handley School and work alongside a fantastic team of parents and teachers.

“I’m looking forward to working with them all to ensure the best possible outcomes for our pupils.

“We are very lucky to be at a school in such a beautiful and friendly setting. I’m keen to further develop links within the community – I very much see my role as helping children discover their role within village life.”

Rachael, who was previously deputy headteacher at fellow HAT school, St Ives Primary, is also a keen sportsperson and musician and will be encouraging more participation in both.

Sixpenny Handley First School makes the most of its smaller classes and outdoor environment promoting a curriculum that puts learners at the centre of all it does.

It has four classes from Reception to Year Four, with each class averaging just 23 pupils.

CEO of Heath Academy Trust, Justine Horn, said: “We are delighted to have someone of Rachael’s calibre lead this very special school.

“To be a pupil at Sixpenny Handley First School is to be very privileged indeed.

“The small class sizes ensure children get lots of attention and in addition they go to a school in a very beautiful setting with large outdoor areas.

“We very much welcome people to come and visit the school and see for themselves how special it is.”

Sixpenny Handley regularly hosts tours of the school, which are led by its Year 4 pupils, followed by a discussion with the headteacher.

The school is also inviting the local community to attend its nativity service on December 10, its pantomime on December 12 and carol service followed by mince pies and mulled wine on December 18.

More details can be found on the school’s website at

Race in memory of a special life

Sixpenny Handley First School headteacher Clare Hewitt and governor Sharon Carter are taking part in the Paris Marathon in memory of former pupil Emily Brown.

A Dorset headteacher and a school governor are joining forces to run in the Paris Marathon in memory of a much-loved former pupil.

Clare Hewitt, headteacher of Sixpenny Handley First School, and governor Sharon Carter, are taking on the 26 mile race in memory of Emily Brown who lost her brave two-year battle with cancer last year aged just seven.

Money raised from their marathon fundraising efforts will go to the bereavement charity MOSAIC and Bloodwise.

Clare said: “Emilywas a beautiful, bright, vibrant little girl who loved to dance, sing, draw and be with her friends. 

“She had a great sense of humour and would often make us smile – she loved to show her original ideas in her work. 

“It was very difficult for all her friends at school when she passed away and MOSAIC gave us a lot of support at that time.

“They are still supporting the family and her young brother who attends our school. This is our way of giving something back to them and saying thank you for helping the school community cope with losing Emily.”

The Heath Academy Trust school has already raised money through an after school running club, a French Day ahead of the Paris Marathon and a ‘guess the time’ competition for pupils to say how long it will take Clare and Sharon to complete the marathon.

Clare and Sharon will also be joining Emily’s family to compete in Blenheim Palace Triathlon in June

The pair, both regular half marathon runners, have been training since December for the marathon, which is held on April 14, and have been able to complete 23 miles so far.

CEO of Heath Academy Trust, Justine Horn, said: “I know these fundraising efforts led by Clare and Sharon mean so much to the whole Sixpenny Handley community.

“It is a wonderful way to commemorate Emily Brown’s memory and to raise funds for two very special charities.”

The team raising money in memory of Emily has set themselves a target to raise £15,000. Anyone who would like to sponsor them can do so by going to

Art project set to make environmental waves

St James Church of England First School took is taking part in a Big Art Project run by Peter Margerum, along with fellow Heath Academy Trust schools.

Children across Dorset schools are making a real splash to highlight the damage plastic is causing the oceans.

Youngsters from Heath Academy Trust’s six first and primary schools are embarking on an ambitious art project to turn plastic washed up on local beaches into sculpture for a special art exhibition.

They are being supported by local artist Peter Marjoram, who has collected the plastic from Chesil Beach and the Fleet in Weymouth.

The children also brought in their own waste plastics, including juice and milk bottles, caps, yoghurt pots and plastic bags, which are a huge source of problems in the sea.

One of the first schools to get the project underway was St James’ CE First School in Alderholt. Headteacher, Jo Hudson, said: “With Peter’s guidance the children made sea creatures out of the plastic that has been found on our beaches and in the home.

“Our main theme throughout this project is to look at how we can reduce plastic waste so it is not ending up in our oceans.

“The plastic sea creatures we have been making symbolise the wildlife that needs protecting from our own rubbish.”

The children worked on joint creatures using a variety of hand tools such as drills and nuts and bolts to make permanent structure.


More plastic sea creatures made by children from the other Heath Academy Trust schools – St Ives Primary, Three Legged Cross First, St Mary’s and Oakhurst first schools in West Moors and Sixpenny Handley First will eventually be added to the final structure.

The sea creature sculpture will then form the centrepiece of an art exhibition, which will be held on June 29 at Chalbury and Holt Village Hall.

Heath Academy Trust CEO, Justine Horn, said: “This is a wonderful collaboration between our schools and is a powerful way of demonstrating to our children the harm plastic is doing to our oceans.

“This art project also shows what good can be made from plastic when it is re-used rather than thrown away.

“We cannot wait to share the final sculpture with our local community in the summer, it promises to look fantastic.”

Our school councils visit the Vedic Society Hindu Temple in Southampton.

Children from the Heath Academy Trust have embarked on a mission to find out more about Britain and its values.

Their mission began in 2017 with a visit to Wimborne Minster for a discovery about Christianity and then followed a trip in 2018 to a Mosque to learn more about British Muslims.

Now their latest 2019 venture has seen them visit a Hindu temple in Southampton.

Around 50 children representing the six Heath Academy Trust schools visited the temple as part their learning on democracy, rule of law, tolerance and individual liberty.

As part of this mammoth task the youngsters from each school council are being asked to consider British values and diversity of faith.

During their visit the children observed a 20 minute traditional temple service which included sung prayer and worship.

The youngsters then had some free time to explore the temple and look closely at its many colourful, intricate shrines and beautiful paintings.

Their day culminated in the priest giving them a presentation about Hinduism and the religion’s motto ‘doing the right thing’.

CEO of the Heath Academy Trust, Justine Horn, said: “We are very grateful to the Hindu Temple for hosting our children and providing such a fascinating insight into Hinduism.

“Each of our school councils have been enjoying this exciting journey of learning together.

“They are finding out much more about our country – its values, the different faiths we worship, democracy, the rule of law, tolerance and individual liberty.”