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Headteacher of ARK John Keats Academy says he will give Enfield children some of the best education in the country
A brand new school and a passionate, ambitious headteacher are getting ready to open their doors to their first batch of pupils.
ARK John Keats Academy in Bell Lane, Enfield, will become one of the first all-through school in the borough on Monday, welcoming its first 60 reception students before bringing in its first 180 year seven pupils in September 2014.
With longer school days for both infants - 8.30am to 4pm - and secondary school pupils - 8.30am to 4.30pm - headteacher Jerry Collins is relishing the new prospect.
He said: “We are very close now and it is starting to get very exciting for all of us. We have been planning for a long time and that has been an enjoyable and invigorating experience.”
The ambitious principal has also laid down a clear strategy for the academy and believes that John Keats can offer some of the best education in the country.
He said: “We want to raise the aspirations of children at the school and also set a standard of education which can rival that of private and prep schools in the UK. We believe that it doesn’t matter what background pupils come from, they can make rapid and substantial progress to be able to go to a top quality university and that is our aim.
“This will be done by having a heavy focus on core academic subjects such as maths and English, rigorous discipline and participation in a school team whether that be sport or music.”
Taking over from the former Albany School, which stood on the site, John Keats is one of 93 new ‘free schools’ being set up by ARK across the country and Mr Collins spoke of the benefits of not only starting a new school from scratch but having children from infants until they are 18.
He said: “When you start from the beginning, it’s like starting your own fantasy football team; you can build it up as you want it and we have had tremendous support from ARK. It is a chance to get down into the real nitty gritty of each individual aspect.
“What you often see when children change from primary school to secondary school, they go backwards as they familiarise themselves with new teachers, friends and surroundings. However we will already know our students; their strengths and weaknesses and their personalities which gives us a real edge.”
Enfield North MP Nick de Bois has welcomed the news that a free school is opening in Enfield.
He said: "I'm delighted that the ARK John Keats Academy has opened in my constituency. A lot of people have worked incredibly hard to get this new school to this stage and they have done a fantastic job for the local community.
"Free schools are all about making sure many more parents have the choice of a great local state school for their children. What parents want is strong discipline and high standards, and that is what these schools will deliver."
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