Ilford has a new secondary school after academy opens its doors

A new secondary school welcomed its first in-take of students on Monday who will benefit from brand new facilities, including a free musical instrument for every pupil.

Isaac Newton Academy, High Road, Ilford opened its doors to its first 180 students who were eager to get started at their new school, despite the longer day.

When full the new academy will have places for 1,250 children, including a sixth form, in the specially designed buildings which will be available for the community to use outside of school hours.

Principal Rachel Macfarlane said: “I am delighted to welcome our founding students. The opportunity to create a new school from scratch is rare and all the staff here are committed to providing an inspirational and life-enhancing educational experience.”

The academy is part of the ARK Schools network which runs 18 academies in London, Birmingham and Portsmouth.

Ms Macfarlane added: “After taking up my position at the school a year ago, it is lovely to see the halls filled with students. Seeing all of them lined up outside ready to cross the threshold was very exciting for both staff and pupils.

“The school day here will run slightly longer on four out of the five days from 8.30-4.10pm and the children are encouraged to spend two nights a week on extra-curricular activities.”

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Each student will also be given a musical instrument ranging from a saxophone to the drums which they will learn and each class will form a big band.

The school’s library will have a special opening on Thursday when children’s author Alan Gibbons will take part in the first Meet the Author day.

Mr Gibbons, who will spend the day working with the Year 7 students, has previously won the 2000 Blue Peter Book Award for The Book I Couldn’t Put Down and has been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal for children’s fiction.

The academy will also open a 630 place primary school in September 2014 which will be close to the secondary academy but have its own buildings and play space.