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Ten years on from a disrupted school opening in which pupils were forced to take lessons in Portakabins, a Newbury Park school has hailed a decade filled with success.

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Oaks Park High head Steven Wilks praised the school’s achievements, which have culminated in this year two students winning places at Cambridge University, and the best exam results to date.

The Oaks Lane school is also fresh from recognition of international school status, a symbol of recognition for its many links with educational establishments around the world.

But 10 years ago, difficulties with a sponsor meant fresh-faced Year 7 pupils were greeted with a Portakabin classroom on the first day of term.

Mr Wilks said: “[There were] difficulties with contractual agreements between Redbridge Council and Norwich Union, as the school was a privately funded initiative.

“The contract with Norwich Union wasn’t signed on time and everything was up in the air. It was a worry,” he added.

“A series of public meetings were held in April 2001, and angry parents vented their feelings at the failure of the school to be built on time.”
The school was built around the pupils, and eventually completed two years later, in April 2003.

Despite the shaky start, the school was praised by education assessors Ofsted, who commented: “This has become a very good school in a comparatively short time.”

The school will mark the occasion with an informal evening, in which all staff, governors and former pupils are invited to toast 10 years of success.

To help with planning, people wishing to attend on Thursday should email Lee Cracknell at lcracknell@oakspark.redbridge.sch.uk.

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