Saturday, 10 September 2011

First day of school

Six years ago I decided to create a new school, designed for the 21st Century.

A school that delivers an outstanding education for everyone, that specialises in creative and digital media and information technology and delights in using the best technology in the world to inspire young people to create their own futures and to succeed.

An early and very special conversation with Michael Marchant in a coffee shop in North London turned the idea from a dream to reality.

I teamed up with some great people and sponsors, the Mercers and the Information Technologists Company. I travelled around the world learning from some of the most innovative schools out there, from High Tech High in California, to Kunskapsskolan in Sweden and Thomas Telford School in the UK.

We found an amazingly supportive local authority, Hammersmith and Fulham, that welcomed us with open arms and found a site for us to build the school. We teamed up with Barnsley Hewett and Mallinson, one of the best educational architects in the UK, Wates Construction, an outstanding building firm and a world class group of educational and building advisers. We formed a close relationship with the incredible St Paul's Girls School, one of the best schools in the UK.

We worked closely with the Department of Education, enjoying several Ministers and officials but with a couple of individuals who shared our vision and showed exceptional commitment to helping us create something very special.

We assembled a hand-picked team of teachers with a level of enthusiasm and energy that I have rarely seen, led by a headteacher who emerged from a gruelling selection process that started with nearly 100 candidates.

When we went out to the local community inviting parents to send their young children to a school that didn't exist yet the response was overwhelming. Over 650 applications for our 120 places.

And on 8th September, 2011, six years later, I stood and watched the first ever group of students, resplendent in their Hammersmith Academy uniforms file in to our school, their school, shaking hands one by one with the Headteacher, as a group of waving mothers and one very proud founder and Chairman shed a few tears.


eileen said...

Fantastic Tom, congratulations to everyone involved.

sigmund said...

who is this shadowy chairman figure? Sounds like some kind of evil mastermind bent on worldwide domination....mwuhahaha etc... you know the drill