A celebration was held last night for the opening of London’s first secondary boys free school which almost did not open this September.
Parents, teachers and pupils at Fulham Boys School were joined by members of the church and politicians for the official opening of the school based temporarily in West Kensington.
Seven weeks after the delayed start of term patrons of the Church of England school, Greg Hands MP and the Bishop of Kensington, Reverend Paul Williams, unveiled a plaque to officially open the school while headmaster Alun Ebenezer pledged to make it ‘the best state or independent school in the UK’.
The Government’s education minister, Nick Gibb, was also there and praised the determination of everybody involved in opening the school after governors were told in the summer they may not be able to open this year because they could not confirm a permanent site to move to in two years time.
The opening at the temporary site in Mund Street, West Kensington, was able to go ahead after the London Mayor stepped in and promised a permanent site would be found.
Parents, teachers and governors then had to work hard to get the school off the ground after they were given the temporary site just two weeks before boys started.
Talking at last night’s opening, Mr Ebenezer said: “More than anything, we want to celebrate the ‘can do’ spirit that got FBS off the ground and is now driving our first boys forward. Parents and staff took a huge leap of faith in sticking by us when we were told we couldn’t open in July, and everyone then worked miracles to get the school ready in two weeks. It may have been a baptism of fire, but it has helped to forge a fantastic school ethos.
“Our challenge now is to deliver the outstanding education we’ve promised parents and pupils.”
Mr Gibb added: “Free schools have the freedom to be innovative and I’m convinced that your vision of high academic standards, competitive sport and good discipline will be a success. I’ll watch with pride what I’m sure will be an outstanding school in Fulham.”
Currently there is one year of Year Seven pupils at the school which will expand to 800 boys eventually.