Bishop unveils ‘inspirational’ school in Dagenham

The bishop of Chelmsford said a Church of England school had witnessed an “astonishing rebirth” following a �25million revamp.

The Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell spoke after he formally unveiled Dagenham Park Secondary School, which was improved under the former school building programme Building Schools for the Future.

The bishop joined headteacher Simon Weaver at the unveiling ceremony on Friday after a 17-month redevelopment, which saw the size of the school increase by 200 places to 1,300.

Bishop Cottrell said: “It was a great joy to officiate at the opening of the new Dagenham Park School.

“Under Simon Weaver’s leadership, the school has experienced an astonishing rebirth, not just a new building, but a new optimism and a new hope.

“With the support and partnership of local people, local government and the local church Dagenham Park School is set for a very encouraging future.”

The secondary, which features a new three-storey building at the centre of the site, was nominated for a Building Project of the Year Award at the British Construction Industry Awards 2012, but lost out to Dundee House in Scotland.

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GCSE pupils at Dagenham Park School achieved their best ever results this year after 60 per cent received five or more A* to Cs, including the core subjects English and maths.

Mr Weaver said: “The building has provided inspirational facilities for the students and people in the local community.

“It inspires all the students to achieve their very best because it provides them with facilities that are world class.”

Multinational construction company Laing O’Rourke redeveloped the secondary in School Road between December 2010 and April this year.

The old school, known as the Dagenham Priory, was demolished but the dining area, arts and technology block and the sports centre, which was built in 2008, were retained.

The bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell, was guest of honour at the unveiling and members of the Royal Ballet, with whom the school is partnered, gave a performance.