Kirk Hallam welcomes back pupils – and an emu!

Staff and pupils are delighted to be back in the classroom at Kirk Hallam – and have welcomed an exotic new member of the school community.

Promoted by Kirk Hallam Community Academy
Thursday, 1st April 2021, 2:49 pm
And emu comes too! Kirk Hallam Community Academy welcomes back pupils, plus a new exotic pet to the school farm

After months of lockdown learning, nothing compared to the smiles of pupils returning to the Derbyshire academy, says head of school Damian Belshaw, who had nothing but praise for pupils, their families and all school staff.

The busy school not only has near-normal classroom activities back as standard, but pupils who learn in the school’s farm got to meet Rue the emu, the latest member of the menagerie who are rescued and rehomed at Kirk Hallam, and who help pupils work towards a series of practical and academic qualifications.


Near normal classroom activities are back on offer

Mr Belshaw said: “It is with great pleasure that we have welcomed our scholars back into the school. It has been a joy to see them all again and I join all of our staff in saying how happy we are that the school is full! The year has been a challenge for all of us but the teamwork that has been shown by all of us has enabled us to overcome this together.

“All staff will now work together to ensure that all of our scholars are able to recover any lost learning time by teaching fantastic lessons and providing a learning experience that will inspire and engage all of our scholars to achieve the amazing things they are capable of.

“I am extremely proud to lead Kirk Hallam Academy and it is our priority to ensure that we put the school back to being the heart of the community and make it a school everyone is really proud of.”

While the many weeks of remote learning have undoubtedly been a challenge hard work from all the school staff, who reached out to every home, producing excellent lockdown learning experiences – that has smoothed the return to the classroom.

Mr Belshaw described the first week back as really positive and successful

Mr Belshaw described the first week back as really positive and successful, with classrooms full of smiling pupils being the highlight for all the Kirk Hallam staff.


Joining a new school during a global pandemic has made it a challenging year for Mr Belshaw, even as an experienced head. But his vision for the school, which is to create a safe, kind learning environment for pupils, using strong professional training to develop teachers, and working to ensure excellent exam results, has been unwavering.

The community academy is home to almost 1,000 scholars; the school has gone through a period of transformation since it joined the Nova Education Trust in 2018.

The school, in Kirk Hallam, Ilkeston, caters for students from aged 11 to 19 years, providing an all-round curriculum offering students choice no matter which direction they want their education to take them.

If you are a current parent, or are considering Kirk Hallam for your child, visit for more information.