From an office in the upper reaches of a historic school in Brook Green, grand plans are taking shape for a striking addition to the borough's academic landscape.
Gary Kynaston, newly announced head teacher at the half-built Hammersmith Academy, is hard at work from his temporary base at St Paul's Girls' School, laying the foundations for what he believes will be an innovative school designed to suit the modern world.
And on hot summer's day, Mr Kynaston – who draws on more than 20 years of teaching experience, including eight as deputy head of Quintin Kynaston School in St John's Wood – set out his vision for what he hopes the academy and its students can achieve.
A specialism in IT and creative and digital media will be integral to lessons, with laptops, digital equipment, graphics and publishing packages forming as big a part of the curriculum as hand-written essays and old-fashioned arithmetic.
"One of the fundamental aspects of education is creativity and making it central to learning at Hammersmith Academy, whilst maintaining high standards at all times," said Mr Kynaston.
"Our responsibility is to ensure that all the students achieve successful results in exams, but also that they have the self-confidence to be able to approach any form of work or task with a problem-solving mindset.
"The difficulty is in striking a balance – it's not just about IT and media skills. Students might have 10 different jobs in their lifetimes, and it's about giving them a core set of skills that they require in order to access work and be successful in a long-term career.
"There are many jobs and opportunities that exist now which didn't five years ago. There's a demand for a young, skilled workforce that can work flexibly and show initiative, and there's a real sense of them needing to update their own skills."
Having secured funding outside of the cancelled Building Schools for the Future programme, the academy's future is secure, and it will open as planned next September. But Mr Kynaston recognises that he is in a fortunate position, when other schools around the borough have had expansion and refurbishment plans cancelled by the coalition government.
"I understand how privileged I am to have a school with a modern, 21st century design with the flexibility to meet the needs of 21st century learners," he said. "Any opportunity afforded to the primary and secondary sector in order to improve their buildings and meet the needs of students, is a real benefit.
"I hope that those schools will be provided with alternative options in the future."
The academy is sponsored by two venerable London institutions, The Worshipful Company of Mercers and The Information Technologists Company, offering an immediate network of local firms with which students will be able to seek important work experience.
But forging strong links with the local community is a different matter, and Mr Kynaston is already holding meetings with groups of parents to lay out his school's philosophy.
Its admission policy must stay true to the original rules governing academies which were established by the previous Labour government – priority will be given to children living closest. Prospective students will be assessed, then separated into five grades of academic ability, with an equal number from each grade given places. Classes will then be put together to include students of all different capabilities.
"It is important for Hammersmith Academy to meet the needs of the immediate community, and for it to be a local school," said Mr Kynaston.
"The whole idea is to get students with a range of abilities, from the area, and ensure a comprehensive intake.
"We have received a lot of interest from the community and I've been meeting parents at sessions held in local primary schools. It's a very mixed and vibrant community which will bring lots of fresh ideas."
The school will be only one-third full when it first opens, with 120 11-year-olds entering year seven and another 120 teenagers entering the sixth form, but its numbers will swell to the maximum 780 by September 2015.
Schools around the borough are already oversubscribed, so the addition of a brand new academy to the compact site in Cathnor Road will have a huge local impact, and work is now under way to recruit the right staff to ensure that the Hammersmith Academy fulfils its promise from the outset.
"My aspiration is that in two years we will have a well established reputation for excellence, and that local people are proud of the qualities that students are exhibiting in their attitude and their work within the community, as well as the high level of qualifications that they are achieving," said Mr Kynaston.
"My aim is to ensure that all students can access universities of their choice, or are ready for the workplace if they so choose.
"When people talk about Hammersmith Academy students it will be as active citizens, their leadership qualities and their sense of aspiration in their personal goals and desires."
The school is already accepting expressions of interest from parents, but applications for places must be made formally through the education authority, Hammersmith and Fulham Council, from this September.
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