Queen Elizabeth’s Academy in Mansfield, part of the Diverse Academies Trust, continued their 460th anniversary celebrations as they buried a time-capsule on their academy site to be opened in 40 years’ time.

The socially distanced ceremony was hosted on 11 March 2021 by academy principal Mrs Willmot, with Mansfield’s Mayor Andy Abrahams attending in his capacity as mayor, and also as an ex-student of Queen Elizabeth’s. The capsule has been filled with notes from students and staff about their thoughts and hopes for the future, how they have lived through the Covid-19 pandemic, and how this has shaped the way that education has changed in 2021. Also included have been photographs from around the academy, newspapers and other publications from this year, together with literature such as their prospectus, the academy prayer book, and letters from dignitaries such as Mr Abrahams and Diverse Academies’ CEO, David Cotton.

Mr Abrahams, who first went to Queen Elizabeth’s in 1969 when it was a boy’s school, spoke to the students and staff at the event, regaling them with tales of being the first boy in his year to be picked for a house group, nicknames that have stuck for over 50 years, the fabulous classrooms, Elizabethan hall and sporting facilities, and outlining how important and memorable a child’s school days are.

QEA’s principal Kimberley Willmot said, “Putting together the time capsule has been an emotional and enjoyable experience, especially given the events of 2020 and how this has changed both education and lives in general. To see so many students and staff want to add their thoughts for the future has been a wonderful moment – we hope that in 2061 when the capsule is opened that the academy is thriving and still providing education to further generations of children in Mansfield.

We thank Mr Abrahams for joining us as part of our anniversary celebrations. To see a member of our alumni in such a crucial role within our community is aspirational for our students – listening to his stories of his time at the school and his continued interest in how we are doing, it is clear the affection that is held for QEA and the impact it had on his life.”

Mr Cotton, added, “There are few other schools in the country that can boast the heritage and longevity of Queen Elizabeth’s, and all staff are proud to work in such an historic school. I was delighted to be asked to contribute to the time capsule and wonder what education will look like in 2061. As Abraham Lincoln once said: ‘The best way to predict your future is to create it’ – now is the opportunity for us to redefine how education looks so that in 2061, our young people have the widest opportunities available to them ”

Well done to the team at Queen Elizabeth’s for organising the capsule, and to those students and staff for contributing to this event.