Search

Feature: Inside Barking’s newest secondary school

13:14 22 September 2016

Greatfields School pupils and teaching staff on the roof of the Gascoigne Primary School Annex

Greatfields School pupils and teaching staff on the roof of the Gascoigne Primary School Annex

Archant

Imagine a secondary school with 100 pupils and just seven teachers.

The secondary school is currently occupying the top floor of Gascoigne Primary's new buildingThe secondary school is currently occupying the top floor of Gascoigne Primary's new building

No, it’s not a school in a quiet little village but a comprehensive in Barking.

Nestled in the heart of one of the borough’s busiest council estates, Greatfields became the borough’s newest school when it opened a fortnight ago.

Temporarily cohabiting with Gascoigne Primary in its newest building in The Shaftesburys, the secondary school will move into its own building in King Edward’s Road next year.

Alongside the seven full-time subject teachers, the staff roster includes a headteacher, teaching assistant, learning mentor, business manager, administration assistant and trainee maths teacher.

Headteacher Richard PaulHeadteacher Richard Paul

The free school is run by the Partnership Learning Trust, the group behind Riverside, Sydney Russell, Eastbury Primary and Thames View Junior schools.

Around half the pupils come from Gascoigne Primary, with 15 per cent each from Northbury and Ripple schools.

“It’s a chance for them to really put their mark on the school,” headteacher Richard Paul, who formerly worked as deputy headteacher at Riverside in Thames Road, Barking, said.

“They’re the pupils that future year groups will look up to.

"I want our students to have ambitious goals and to believe that they can achieve them, whatever they may be"

Headteacher Richard Paul

“We’re a Gascoigne estate school so we’ll be very much fed by Gascoigne Primary and being in the same building this year really helps us develop that partnership, working with the staff and getting to know Year 6.

“This school is for the Gascoigne community so I’d like to see students from the Gascoigne estate coming here.

Richard – who also spent seven years at Robert Clack, in Green Lane, Dagenham, where he taught history – said parents have been supportive of the new school.

“It takes a leap of faith to send your children to a school which at the time doesn’t exist but now we’re up and running and people know who we are,” he said.

Pupil’s views

Kamile Vaitkute, of Somerby Road, Barking, likes the independence and maturity that comes with secondary school.

“I like the way the teachers teach,” the 11-year-old said. “They are all really approachable and normal.

“The building’s really cool and it’s a real pleasure to be in each classroom.

“It’s a nice calm environment, which I like.”

Muhammad Mashjid-ul-Haque, of North Street, Barking, also prefers Greatfields to primary school.

“I’m learning a lot here,” the 11-year-old said. “The teachers are much better than the other schools I’ve been at, I really enjoy it.

“My favourite bit’s the roof though, it’s really nice to be able to play with that view.”

Greatfields will take another 100 pupils next year, 120 the year after and eventually become a 10-form entry, or 300-pupil, school, with the number of staff set to treble over the next three years.

“This year I want to embed the positive, calm environment we have been working towards,” Richard, 36, explained.

“I want our students to have ambitious goals and for them to see them through and make them believe that they can achieve those goals, whatever they may be.”

The building share with Gascoigne is only a temporary measure though, with Greatfields due to move into a new building next year.

An artist's impression of how Greatfields will lookAn artist's impression of how Greatfields will look

The secondary school will boast 18 times its current number of pupils when it reaches full capacity of 1,840 over the next decade.

The vast majority of these, 1,500, will be made up of Years 7 to 11 but an additional 320 pupils will make up the sixth form.

The school will also have facilities for 20 special educational needs (SEN) students.

Plans submitted to the council earlier this month would see a 2,390sq m two-storey teaching block to accommodate the 18 classrooms needed for next year’s 120 Year 7 intake.

The future site of Greatfields School in Barking on a new site which will include housingThe future site of Greatfields School in Barking on a new site which will include housing

A 40-space car park and a full size all-weather pitch will also be built while a single coach and four car drop-off spaces will be available outside.

The plans are part of the wider Gascoigne estate renewal programme, which also includes an extra three-form expansion to the primary school and a 1,400sq m community centre alongside 1,500 new homes.

For more information, visit greatfieldsschool.com

Related articles

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Barking and Dagenham Post visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Barking and Dagenham Post staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Barking and Dagenham Post account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Barking and Dagenham News Stories

15:00

Hope was at the core of a taboo-busting series of short films created by and for young women.

12:06

Five kittens were found abandoned and soaked through in a rucksack yesterday afternoon.

A cutting-edge artist who has shown her work at the Saatchi gallery has opened her own exhibition space in Barking.

Yesterday, 18:30

Broadway Theatre will be closed throughout October as it continues to recover from an explosion.

Yesterday, 15:00

“Exceptional” academic talent was honoured at Barking town hall.

Yesterday, 12:24

A beloved comedy actor has urged people to dig deep to honour “Barking’s best”.

Yesterday, 11:03

The borough’s largest college is considering plans to merge with a second further education institution.

Yesterday, 11:00

Schoolchildren have turned surplus fruit and vegetables into delicious smoothies by pedalling on adapted bikes.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

As we grow older it becomes more and more important to have means to travel about safely and quickly. Our friendship groups and families grow and the need to have a car that is not only safe but also fast and big enough for all our needs is ever more important. There are many cars on the market for such needs but none deals with them as efficiently or as neatly as a VW Golf Estate. These cars are build strong, long lasting and spacious for a reason. They cater to the needs of many and are some of the most popular cars currently on the market.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Barking and Dagenham Post
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now