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Stockton Depot Gives Middlesbrough Pupils A ‘Wheelie’ Good Opportunity To Make A Difference

Gary Dean (L) and Neil McLeary (R) hand over the old vehicle to pupils and Principal Helen Steele at Caldicotes Primary Academy

Youngsters in Middlesbrough have been given a ‘wheelie’ good chance to get on board a school project and develop their learning along the way, as staff from a Stockton bus depot donate an old vehicle for the school to transform into a learning zone.

Pupils and staff at Caldicotes Primary Academy approached Stagecoach North East for the possibility of acquiring an old bus which was no longer in service, and the local bus operator was more than happy to get involved by donating a decommissioned bus that would usually be scrapped.

Engineering Manager Neil McLeary and bus driver Gary Dean from Stagecoach North East’s Teesside depot in Stockton assisted with the project and were delighted to handover the bus to the pupils. The youngsters will now be involved in deciding how to use the space, which the school has dubbed the ‘CaldiBus’.

Helen Steele, Principal at Caldicotes Primary Academy, said: “We are exploring lots of options as to how we could make the best use of space in the bus to be an effective resource and space. Our Academy Pupil Leaders (Captains, Prefects and Academy Forum Reps) are now gathering suggestions and ideas from the children and capturing their enthusiasm for the arrival of the bus.

“Thoughts so far include a dedicated reading space on the lower floor with an environmental science space to link in with our Forest School provision on the upper floor. Pinterest is very helpful but we’d be very grateful for any advice from other organisations that have completed this process or designers who would like to get involved.

“It would be fantastic if we could link up with our sister academies along with Middlesbrough College and Teesside University to see if we can develop the project with their assistance.”

The school is planning for the pupils to be involved in the ‘CaldiBus’ throughout the academic year, which will provide them with a window into future employment and career opportunities through engagement with skilled people.

Helen continued: “We will definitely be involving the children, staff and community in designing our CaldiBus and hopefully encouraging them to help out with painting etc too! We want to include the community and the children in this project as much as possible and we will need to fundraise along with seeking to access help, support and advice from companies, businesses and individuals with skills and talents that we will need.”

Once completed, the Academy will be holding a ‘grand opening’ event for everyone involved to celebrate the completion of the project. To keep up to date with progress, please follow Caldicotes Primary Academy on Twitter at @CaldiPrimary.

Nathan Stanislawski, Operations Manager for Stagecoach North East’s Teesside depot, said: “We always try our best to support projects which will benefit the local community and it feels brilliant that we are helping to make a real difference to so many youngsters at Caldicotes Primary Academy.

“Being able to lend a helping hand to community projects like a new educational resource for a school on our doorstep is always important, especially when it comes to youth learning and development.”

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