Academy heralds first day

THE curtain was finally raised on the Draper’s Academy this week heralding a new beginning for education in Harold Hill.

An open day welcomed hundreds of parents and pupils on Tuesday to mark the official first day of school.

Head teacher Matthew Slater said he hopes it signals the “start of an amazing educational journey”.

On the site of the old Kings Wood, it is the first academy to open in Havering, which is a joint venture by the Drapers’ Company and Queen Mary University.

Mr Slater said: “The aim is to make Drapers’ Academy the first choice school for all the families in Harold Hill, and to do that we need to provide first-class education for our pupils and generations of pupils to come.”

All involved breathed a huge sigh of relief earlier this year when it was announced that a �27 million rebuilding project planned to be finished in 2012 would not fall victim to government cuts.

Staff staged the open day attended by the Metropolitan Police, Army, firefighters, local dignitaries, families and featured a performance by X-Factor singer Rachel Adedeji.

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The current number of pupils for the senior school is 500 but that is expected to rise to more than 1,100 including a sixth form.

Mr Slater added: “We are encouraged to be risk-takers but our education system is about traditional values, respect and discipline.”