Pupils mark opening of their new school
By poppy_smith | Sunday, January 27, 2013, 19:50
Pupils at Thomas Fairchild Community School in Hackney marked the official opening of their brand new school.
Children were joined by parents, members of the local community and the London Gospel Choir to celebrate the £9.4m new school, which was built after a fire devastated the original Victorian building.
Special guest Adam Deacon, a BAFTA-winning actor and director, who grew up in Stoke Newington, also took part in the special assembly and talked to pupils about the importance of working hard at school, saying: "You can do anything you want to if you believe in yourself , and your amazing new school is going to help you to do that."
The state-of-the-art new school is spread over three floors and boasts top-of-the-range IT, food technology, science and art facilities to ensure pupils get the best start to their education.
One of the key features of the new school is the ground floor 'HeartSpace' – an exciting café and community area. Pupils also benefit from spacious new play areas.
Year six pupil Sarya Fidan said: "I think our school is very unique and advanced because we incorporate technology, cooking and music. When I walk into school I feel proud of everyone in my school for coping so well in the hard times of the fire. Thomas Fairchild encourages us to reach the best of our potential in every way possible."
The original school was destroyed by fire in 2009. Pupils were taught at other sites while building work took place. The new building opened its doors on schedule in September 2012 and, after settling in and getting to know their new school during the autumn term, pupils and staff proudly showed guests around on 17 January.
The assembly included a presentation by pupils on the life of Thomas Fairchild, a famous horticulturalist from Hoxton who died in 1729.
The project was led by Hackney Council with the Local Education Partnership, Mouchel Babcock Education, and designed and built by Avanti Architects and main contractor McLaren Construction Ltd.
Associate Headteacher, Jenny Lewis, said: "After three years in temporary accommodation, the pupils, parents, teachers and staff of Thomas Fairchild deserve something special - this building is just that.
"Our aim for the new Thomas Fairchild is that it develops into a school at the heart of the community. The 'Heart space' is already a key area where our parents and pupils meet every Friday to find out more about school life, how their children learn and to use the communal computer facilities. We aim to drive up standards and remind our pupils that there is no limit to what can be achieved."
Cabinet Member for Education, Cllr Rita Krishna, said: "Everyone associated with the school was devastated when the old school was destroyed by fire, but it's to the credit of the staff and pupils that they didn't let it get them down. They continued to work hard in challenging circumstances and made great progress.
"This all means that the pupils moved into their new school raring to go. The children have already settled into their new classrooms and are very proud of the school they helped to design, which is a fantastic space for 21st century learning."
David Owen, Operations Director at McLaren Construction, said: "When we started working on the rebuild of Thomas Fairchild Community School it quickly became apparent that it was a central and valued part of the community, and people cared deeply about it being replaced. It was very important to us that we delivered a project that met local peoples' expectations and was a fitting testament to the old school. Having the community involved in the redesign and having so much local support has been particularly rewarding for our team and we very much hope pupils and staff enjoy their new school."