New £30m Bow School opens to help tackle East End’s shortage of places

The new Bow School complex and (inset) head-teacher Cath Smith

The new Bow School complex and (inset) head-teacher Cath Smith - Credit: Tower Hamlets council

A long-awaited new secondary school complex officially opens today as part of a £300 million building programme tackling a growing population in London’s overcrowded East End.

Rooftop football pitch

Rooftop football pitch - Credit: Tower Hamlets council

The £30m Bow School campus for nearly 1,200 pupils near Bow Lock, on the Lea River, is helping tackle the East End’s chronic shortage of secondary places.

A 40 per cent rise in pupil numbers is estimated over the next 10 years, adding another 14,000 to the roll call.

The expanded school is providing 725 more places for youngsters aged 11 to 16, adding girls and a sixth form for the first time.

It replaces the previous boys’ school on two cramped and outdated sites where pupils had to be taken by bus to sports facilities and lack of space meant subjects like drama and catering were off the menu.

Now the school has its own rooftop sports area and a new assembly hall which also doubles as a 350-seater theatre, fitted with lighting and audio for performances.

A full range of A-Level subjects and GCSEs is offered in food technology, textiles, graphic design, drama, dance, theatre studies, music technology and the BTEC National in sport.

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“We’re making full use of the new facilities,” Headteacher Cath Smith said. “The new building provides a stimulating learning environment for our children.”

Improvements have also been carried out in the area around the school, including the underpass beneath the A12 dual-carriageway connecting to Bromley-by-Bow Underground station.

The site, officially being opened at lunchtime by Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman, is part of the local authority’s programme to refurbish or rebuild all 18 of its secondary schools.