Pupils and teachers ‘super happy’ as Redbridge free school opens

One of the country’s first ever free schools opened its doors in Redbridge today, easing pressure on the borough’s over-subscribed primaries.

The Aldborough E-Act Primary School, in Aldborough Road South, Seven Kings, welcomed 120 pupils into reception and Year 1, leaving its principal Nicola Percy “super excited”.

The institution, run free of local authority control, will feature shorter four-week summer holidays and offer childcare provision from 8am until 6pm to help hard-working parents.

E-Act, which is running the free school, is a charitable trust.

Miss Percy said: “I am super excited, and so far the feedback from parents has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Here we are starting a new school from scratch, which means parents and families will have a big say, and we have a scope to do things differently.”

Teachers at the school, which is in the building of the former Downshall Centre, will use multimedia technology to teach classes and will keep notes on their pupils using tablet computers.

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Parent Abida Naureen, of Ilford, was impressed with the set-up as she watched her eldest daughter, five-year-old Saleha, talking to her new classmates.

“I really love the uniform, it is bright, active and fresh,” she said. “Saleha is so excited as there is so much to do. She has done so much already today and now I can’t tear her away.”

Mark Greatrex, E-Act project director, said there is still a lot of work to be done to prepare for more pupils in the future, but the organisation would spend nearly �3million redeveloping the old building.

He said: “Parents in Redbridge whose children are four and five really wanted this school this year, so we’ve delivered on their requirements.

“It is refreshing to see everybody so happy now they know they have a place for their child.”

The decision to hand the Downshall Centre to free school provider E-Act was taken by Redbridge Council in March amid concern from residents and disabled groups who use the building on a daily basis.

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