Three-in-one free school campus opens in Barking Riverside

Riverside Campus (Picture: Hakan Yazici)

Riverside Campus (Picture: Hakan Yazici) - Credit: Hakan Yazici

The UK’s largest free school campus opened today in Barking Riverside.

The 2,600-pupil capacity Riverside Campus, run by the trust Partnership Learning, features a three-in-one approach to education.

The site houses three free schools: Riverside Primary School, the secondary Riverside School and special needs school Riverside Bridge, which opened last year.

Secondary schoolchildren will comprise around 70 per cent of the £45 million facility’s intake, or 1,800 pupils, compared to 24pc at primary (630 places) and 7pc (180 places) special needs pupils.

Riverside School opened in Thames Ward as a secondary mixed academy five years ago. It currently has 840 pupils and will double its capacity and open a new sixth form after relocating to the Renwick Road site.

Riverside School headteacher Andrew Roberts said: “It’s an amazing day to see such an aspirational project become a reality.

“The vision was to serve the whole community with the very best education from reception to A-level.”

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The site includes a four-court sports hall, an all-weather artificial grass pitch, science labs and two dance studios.

Roger Leighton, CEO of Partnership Learning, said: “The opening of the whole Riverside Campus is the culmination of what has been a seven-year project and we are delighted with the final standard of accommodation.”

The trust said facilities can be used by the community outside of teaching hours, with a “high proportion” of local residents employed at the site.

Once completed, there will be seven schools at Barking Riverside, a brownfield development project covering over 10,000 homes.

“Although the Riverside Campus is in the middle of a field right now, it will become the heart of this pioneering community,” said Barking Riverside project director Matthew Carpen.

The EL1 bus route from Ilford Hill will run to Riverside Campus from today. The move follows transport secretary Chris Grayling’s approval of plans to extend the Overground to Barking Riverside, which is scheduled to open in 2021.