As the year 11 students conclude their final days at Walton Academy,  we reflect on an extraordinary journey that began five years ago. Walton Academy’s first coeducational cohort, the Class of 2024, stands at the threshold of their futures, having completed a remarkable and historic journey with us. This milestone is not just an end but a testament to the hard work, resilience, and collective spirit of our students and staff.

Principal Jess Leonard poignantly recalls the significance of this cohort: “Walton has existed since the 1940s, but you will always be the very first coeducational cohort in the history of Walton. You will leave behind you a huge legacy.” The Class of 2024 has indeed set a new benchmark for our academy, marking a significant chapter in our evolution.

This cohort’s journey began in year 7 when they were welcomed by a newly appointed Principal Jess Leonard. Bright-eyed and eager, they embarked on their educational path, only to face unprecedented challenges as the world grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdowns, bubbles, and remote learning transformed their experience, but they adapted and persevered, embodying the resilience and determination that define Walton Academy.

Throughout these years, the support and dedication of our staff have been instrumental. Special thanks are due to Mr Taxis, Mrs Owen, the year 11 team, and the exams team, whose efforts ensured the smooth execution of the final weeks of exams. Their commitment has been unwavering, and the success of this period is a testament to their hard work.

Yesterday, the academy hosted a final assembly for the cohort—a celebration filled with emotion and reflection. The assembly was a moment to cherish the journey, friendships, and accomplishments of the past five years.

The exam period this year has been particularly challenging, but the Class of 2024 has faced it with commendable fortitude. The positive feedback from the exams team and invigilators highlights the students’ exemplary conduct and dedication. “You have been incredible,” Principal Jess Leonard affirmed, noting the students’ resilience and commitment. Walking around the alternative timetable sessions, the principal witnessed firsthand the students’ engagement and perseverance.

As we look forward to celebrating their achievements in August, we are filled with pride. The Class of 2024’s journey at Walton Academy has laid a strong foundation for their futures. As they step into the next phase of their lives, they carry with them the skills, resilience, and determination they have honed here. Principal Jess Leonard advises, “Remember, you can do it, you have done it, and you can do it again. Do not let anyone or anything hold you back. Be the person you want to be but be the best version of that person and do not settle for anything else.”

We wish the Class of 2024 happiness, health, and success in all their future endeavours. Walton Academy will always remember you and the legacy you leave behind. Well done, Class of 2024—you have made history, and we are immensely proud of you!