New school Harold Hill school building, Drapers’ Academy, opens

While pupils across the borough lamented their return to school after the long summer break - pupils at one Harold Hill secondary school had something to look forward to.

After a wait of almost two years since Drapers’ Academy was formed, pupils finally got a first look at its new building on Thursday last week when it was opened for a special celebration event for more than 400 hundred pupils and staff.

As well as the chance to look around the new school, there was also fairground-themed stalls and activities, including a rodeo, barbecue, and celebrity lookalikes of David Beckham and Cheryl Cole.

On Monday the new school term began at the Settle Road school, with pupils welcomed into a new state-of-the-art building for lessons for the first time.

Principal Matthew Slater said: “It’s been an amazing year for us. We’ve just achieved our best ever GCSE results with a pass rate of 62 per cent for five GCSEs including English and maths, making us one of the fastest improving schools in the country.

“Now our �24m campus is complete and we will be working with the community in Harold Hill to raise pupils’ aspirations and make it a centre for educational excellence.”

Pupil Tom Booty, 15, added: “I was a pupil at Kingswood School so I have a lot of good memories of the old school building, and I will miss it, but the new school building is really impressive and it will be good to spend my last year here.”

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The academy also forms part of Havering Council’s Harold Hill Ambitions programme, which aims to regenerate the area and improve the quality of life for residents.

Cllr Steven Kelly, deputy leader of the council, said: “What a great achievement that after lots of work, Drapers’ and the Queen Mary University of London have been able to open a state-of-the-art new Academy in Harold Hill.

“We hope that it will raise the aspirations of pupils for years to come and help them to achieve their ambitions to the highest standard.

On Monday September 24 the school will host an open evening for children and their parents considering school entry in 2013 from 6pm-8.30pm.

Members of the local community who would like to get take a look inside the new building are also welcome to attend.