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Bishop of London Richard Chartres blesses 'exciting venture' at St Mary's and St John's new secondary school in Hendon
Bishop of London Richard Chartres joined staff, parents and pupils in Sunningfields Road to officially mark the start of renovation work
The Bishop of London turned the first sod at the site of a Church of England secondary school set to become a borough-wide first when it opens in 2014.
St Mary’s and St John’s Primary School is expanding to open a secondary school a short distance from its location in Prothero Road, Hendon.
When the secondary school opens its doors next September, St Mary’s and St John’s will become the first state-run school in the borough to provide education to pupils from nursery age through to sixth form.
The new site in Sunningfields Road, formerly St Mary’s High School, will become home to pupils in Years 5 to 8, while a third site in Downage, due to open in the next three years, will house Years 9 to 11 as well as a sixth form centre.
Bishop of London Richard Chartres joined staff, parents and pupils in Sunningfields Road yesterday (Wednesday) to officially mark the start of renovation work at the site.
Speaking before a short service in the courtyard of the school, Bishop Chartres said: “This is a new venture and a very exciting one indeed.
“All the news is that we are facing exceptional demand for school places. By 2017 the bulge will have a real impact across London but today we are providing school places and serving the local community.”
The bishop thanked the work of staff and noted his “extraordinary gratitude” to Barnet Council for its partnership with the school.
A total of 120 new Year 7 students, as well as Years 5 and 6, will move in to the building from September next year.
The secondary school will specialise in performing arts and business and enterprise and governors will now begin developing the curriculum and appointing staff, starting with heads of departments.
Headteacher of St Mary’s and St John’s, Dee Oelman, said: “I think today really symbolises our expectations to become the first through-school in the borough - it is real now.
“This is a really great opportunity to be able to spread our good work to a wider age group. It is an exciting time and there is an element of trepidation as there is a lot of work to do but we’re determined to get this right and ensure the school is very successful.”
The school is due to hold an open day for the new sixth for on Tuesday, September 10, at Middlesex University’s Hendon campus.