IRIS Learning Trust was formed in June 2018 and is based in the North East of England. We are proud to serve our communities and aim to offer outstanding educational provision.
The Trust believes that to be successful and promote a culture of excellence and aspiration, we need to place improving the lives and outcomes of children at the heart of everything we do.


create a culture of high expectation and commitment to success


through our daily work secure excellent academies for our local communities

grow and learn together

work with children and families to create great places of learning for all

IRIS Learning Trust

Corporation Road




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Please contact Delivery Team on
0113 3200 750 if you have any queries.

Corporation Road, Sunderland, Tyne And Wear SR2 8PL

0191 5002999

Valley Road Academy

Nurture group

All about Owls by Nurture Group

Nurture Group have been learning all about owls.  We gather facts for videos, books and the internet.  We recorded these in our sharing books and enjoyed making owl crafts. 

Our cooking activity this week was to make edible owl pellets.  The children were amazed that owls regurgitate the parts of the animals they eat because they cannot digest them.

To end our fabulous week of learning, Mr Hall visited us with his Barn Owl.  The children really enjoyed the experience of seeing a real owl.  The children asked Mr Hall lots of questions about his owl. We also had the opportunity to dissolved some owl pellets in water and discovered lots of mice bones and even a mouse skull.  Some of us were more keen than others with this activity!

For our cooking activity this week we made edible owl pellets with biscuits, cream and chocolate. They were very tasty!

Anti – Bullying Week in Nurture Group

This week Nurture Group have been looking at what qualities make a good friend, what bullying is and the similarities and differences between people. We have focused our activities around this theme and we have made an Anti-Bullying Pledge, which we all signed using our hand prints and is displayed in our room.

An activity that KS1 Nurture Group enjoyed was the ‘crumpled piece of paper’. The children took turns to be as nasty to the paper as possible, they stamped on it, called it names and even threw it in the bin. After, we tried to smooth out the creases but they would not go away. We talked about how we would have felt if we were that piece of paper and that every time someone hurt us then it would be hard to take those feelings away, just like the creases on the paper. KS2 carried out a similar activity – they had two apples, one they were awful to just like a bully is to people and the other, they were complimentary and kind to. When they cut open both of the apples they could see just how scarred the bullied apple was inside even though it still looked the same on the outside. 

KS1 and KS2 children worked together to make a Friendship Fruit Salad. We peeled all of the fruit, tasted it and had a good look at it. We all agreed that it was fruit but that each type of fruit was different, just like people – all the same but each one different.  Together we mixed the different fruits in a large bowl making a fruit salad.  We then shared it out and talked about how some of us preferred some fruit but not others

Autumn party

Nurture group would like to thank all of the parents and carers who were able to attend our Autumn party. The turnout was fantastic and the children were excited to complete activities and games with the adults. Throughout the afternoon we took part in a variety of games including apple bobbing, ghost bowling and pin the nose on the pumpkin. The final game, which was the messiest of them all, was eating the sticky jam bun…. while it was hanging from a string! The children found this so tricky but so funny. Jam ended up all over some of their faces - it was great to watch! We also had the chance to be around the fire pit. During this time, we were able to make marshmallow biscuits and have a warming drink of hot chocolate. The children’s behaviour was very good and they thoroughly enjoyed sharing and spending that time with their parents and carers. Once again, thank you all for your continued support and turnout. We hope to see you again soon. Enjoy the selection of pictures we have uploaded.


Nurture Group go Egg Rolling

As part of our Easter celebrations we went to Penshaw Monument to roll eggs.  Earlier in the week we talked about the tradition of decorating eggs for Easter and rolling them down a hill to see who’s egg was last to crack.

It was a beautiful afternoon, the sun was shining and the sky was clear. The view was fantastic, we could see for miles.  The children pointed out lots of things they could see and places they had visited.

Once at the top of the hill, we each took our eggs and rolled them as far as we could.   Alfie’s egg was the only egg that didn’t crack, but Ethan’s egg rolled the furthest.  Everyone enjoyed rolling their eggs. 

Before we left, we sat in the sunshine and ate our chocolate crispy cakes that we had made for this special occasion.

Hope you enjoy looking at our photographs.



Nurture Group – February 2017


Nurture Group have been learning about our emergency services.  We had a visit from our Community Police women, who talked to us about stranger danger, making 999 calls, what to do if we got lost and how to stay safe when using the internet.  We really enjoyed our visit from Jill and Laura.

We also had a visit from our friend Michelle who belongs to St John’s ambulance.  Michelle talked to us about what to do in an emergency, how to call for help, how to put someone in the emergency position and how to put on a bandage.  We had great fun putting bandages on our friends and also putting them in the recovery position. At the end of our first aid session we were all awarded a certificate.


Autumn Term 2016

This term Nurture Group have experienced many adventures.  Our activities have included looking at our personal safety and well-being, helping us to deal with different emotions we may experience and looking at where we live. We have looked at how we communicate and the use of language through team games and challenges.

 A new member was introduced to our group, Diamond the Bear. The children chose his name as it represented all the good things about our school. Together we built him a cave and a comfortable bed. We made snacks for him that we thought he would enjoy, fish finger sandwiches, mackerel, teddy bear toast and Paddington Bear friendship loaf.  We took Diamond to Backhouse Park, to show him the signs of autumn and how we play safely on the play park.

Diamond is a very clever bear and decided to go on his own adventure. The children received messaged from him, telling them where he had been and what he had got up too.  Diamond sent messages from Holy Island, Seaburn Illuminations, the River Wear and the Sunderland Empire, where he went to watch the musical Cats.

Our missing bear was reported to the police, who came in to visit the children. The children gave the police a description of Diamond and asked for their help. We also talked about our own personal safety and what we would do if we got lost.  We also had a visit from St John First Aid team. The children were taught basic first aid and even gained a certificate.

You will be glad to hear that Diamond has returned to our Nurture Group safe and sound, yet a little bit mucky.  Our police friends tracked him down and found him on a bus heading back to school. To celebrate Diamonds return we took him to Herrington Park and had a Teddy Bears Picnic with the children.

Also during our Nurture Group time we have also learnt about Halloween traditions, Bonfire Night, how to be a good friend and team player.