Harlow's newest secondary opensPosted: 13th September 2019
Harlow’s newest secondary school has opened its doors to its first cohort of students.
Sir Frederick Gibberd College has opened in response to the critical shortage of secondary school places in the town.
A group of 122 Year 7 students made history as they became the first to walk through the brand-new school’s doors on Monday.
Headteacher Dee Conlon told them: “This is an incredible day for us.
“Every time we do something new, we are making history. Today is a monumental day for you as you are the first set of Gibberdians to go through the gates in the history of this school.
“Welcome to your new home. I call it a home as I think of us as a family. Ultimately, one thing I want you to always remember is no matter what happens we truly care about you and your future. Everything we do is to get the best out of you in this school, not just in terms of exams and grades, but you as individuals.
“Welcome to the Gibberdian family.”
The day started with students practising their line-up before heading into school – a routine used by all BMAT schools by way of starting the day in an orderly fashion.
The first week was filled with assessments and orientation activities to help students and the newly appointed team of staff to settle into their new school.
Hollie Dietz, 11, said of the first day: “It’s going really well; the first lesson is going great.
“I wanted to come to Sir Frederick Gibberd as I felt a new school would be a new start for me. We are the first people here, so we are making history.”
New classmate Javin Nundloll, 11, was the first student to arrive. He said: “I just really wanted to get to school as I was excited for the new start and new beginning.
“I really felt emotional in assembly.”
Mrs Conlon said to students: “I have been waiting for this moment for four years. They say good things come to those who wait; you are my good things.
“We are a small school, but we are a great school. We are going to be the best school! Let’s go and show everyone how amazing we are.”
The school, based in modern temporary accommodation next to Burnt Mill Academy while a permanent building is constructed in Tendring Road, is part of the BMAT family of schools.
Mrs Conlon said: “We started this project in 2015; it was just a conversation about how we needed a new school in Harlow and was that something we could do as a Trust. The answer was ‘yes’.
“In September 2019, there was going to be a shortage of 120 secondary school places in Harlow. We have taken on 122 and we still have some on our waiting list.
“Words fail me that we stand here now on our opening day.”
The school will open a sixth form in the future.