Five-times Olympic gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave CBE sailed into Teesside this week to help inspire teachers and education bosses.
The most successful British rower in Olympic history was Guest Speaker at Ad Astra Academy Trust’s Festival of Education 2023 Conference.
The eight primary schools under the umbrella of Ad Astra are Ayresome and Sunnyside in Middlesbrough, Crooksbarn and Rosebrook in Stockton-on-Tees and Barnard Grove, Brougham, West Park and West View in Hartlepool.
Over 250 teachers and school leaders attended the day-long event, held at Teesside University, Middlesbrough.
Andy Brown OBE, Chief Executive Officer of Ad Astra Academy Trust, said: “Sir Steve Redgrave has a proven track record of sustained success at the highest level and that can only be achieved through hard work, resilience, and determination.
“These are just some of the attributes which we want to instil in our teachers and staff and Sir Steve Redgrave is a fantastic role model to demonstrate how success can be achieved against a backdrop of the daily challenges we all face.”
The event was chaired by leading educationalist Maggie Farrar CBE and included a series of workshops and discussions throughout the day on key current issues and challenges for schools.
Sir Steve Redgrave spoke about how one of his teachers at school had given him the opportunity to have a go at rowing.
He said: “Teachers are so important to guiding young people and one of my teachers gave me the opportunity to be a rower. If you ask any Olympian who their inspiration was, most will say one of their schoolteachers.”
He added: “Work ethic is the key to success. Even if you have talent you have to work hard; the harder you work, the better you become.”
Former newspaper editor and children’s author Peter Barron MBE hosted the question-and-answer session with Sir Steve Redgrave and also spoke at the event along with Anthony Daulphin of the Standing Ovation Project – a multi award-winning national education body.
Pupils welcomed guests at the start of the event which included an address from 10-year-old Janna Oyedeji from Rosebrook Primary School and a music and dance display by Crooksbarn Primary School.
Pupils also produced a range of artwork depicting Sir Steve Redgrave’s hugely successful rowing career which he was really impressed with.
Chris Simmons, chair of the Ad Astra trustees gave a vote of thanks at the end. He said: “What a day it has been with excellent speakers and workshops. We have outstanding staff across all of our schools who provide inspiration and raise the hopes and aspirations of young children.”
Ad Astra Academy Trust was formed in 2015 and over the last eight years has grown across the Tees Valley, providing education for over 3,500 pupils and 525 employees in Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees.
Click below to view videos of Festival of Education 2023