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Three new East End free schools open in Tower Hamlets

PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 September 2012

Three schools in London's East End are among 55 new state-funded free schools in the country approved by the government to open this term.

The first 24 open this week, including three in Tower Hamlets—Wapping High School, City Gateway and CET Primary.

Pupils begin at Wapping High on Wednesday, after teachers and staff started work today.

It follows a campaign by a parent and community group over the need for a new school in an area they felt was geographically isolated from the rest of east London.

The governors aim to address a shortage of secondary places in the South Wapping Priority Zone—so priority is being given to children from this community.

Chair of Governors Jon Cheyne said: “The real challenge now is meeting the needs of such a diverse community.”

But they were unable to find suitable premises in the immediate area and have initially moved into at the Training College in Cannon Street Road in Whitechapel.

The school moves to permanent premises in Commercial Road next year, with specialist facilities for science, dance, drama, music and performance.

It focuses on enterprise and innovation in an extended school day, with activities complementing formal classroom learning such as musicianship and kayaking.

Headteacher Paul Guénault explained: “Our students will learn to take responsibility for their own success, achieving results and be well-rounded individuals with prosperous futures.”

Wapping High was approved by the Education Secretary last Autumn, with a State funding agreement signed in July.

Two more free schools also open in the East End this week.

City Gateway is aimed at youngsters cut off from mainstream schooling and need a different environment and curriculum. It combines learning with pastoral care by a staff of tutors and progression workers focusing on preparing pupils for further education.

CET Primary is teaching children with dyslexia and specific learning difficulties, with a policy of early identification and intervention. Pupils are guided to reach their potential and overcome difficulties at an earlier age.

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