Model East End school opens without gates or fences
THE first new school in London’s East End officially opened today under the Government’s ambitious ‘Schools for the Future’ programme without the traditional fence or gate.
The �16 million ‘showpiece’ St Paul’s Way Trust School in Bow Common has its entrance on the street—you just open the door and are greeted by smiling staff at a smart new reception desk.
It is at the heart of the community, headmaster Graham Price told VIPs at the official unveiling.
“There are no gates or fences, just a privet hedge,” he said. “This is a sound investment that takes us into the community we serve.”
He quoted the post-war Jewish writer Maisey Moscow’s words: “Fences enough, already—let’s build pathways. We don’t need fences.”
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It is a new beginning for a school that was failing just two years ago in its dingy, dark buildings now being demolished at the back of the smart, white new campus.
St Paul’s Way was on ‘notice to improve’ by Government Ofsted inspectors before Mr Price was appointed to reorganise it.
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The move to turn it into a ‘trust’ school was controversial, but it went ahead in a partnership between Tower Hamlets and London University’s Queen Mary College and is now forging ahead on the league tables. Now it is one of the country’s top 30 improved schools.
Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman toured the school with the East End’s two MPs Rushanara Ali and Jim Fitzpatrick to see the state-of-the-art science, visual arts and sports facilities.
It has a Faraday science centre and unrivalled computer and music facilities.
Mr Fitzparick, the local Labour MP for Poplar & Limehouse, said: “The last Labour government was criticised for not investing in schools, for not fixing the roof when it was sunshine.
“But this new campus proves we’ve fixed the roof as well as the walls and the floor.”
The school gets a visit tomorrow from Olympics Gold medalist Tessa Sanderson as part of its rejuvenating celebrations—with the campus less than two miles from the 2012 Games site.