Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has praised the vision, commitment and focus of staff, pupils and parents at Hope Community School in Foots Cray during a visit to Bexley’s first free school on Tuesday. Nicky Morgan was joined by James Brokenshire during a tour of the school where they spoke to children and teaching staff. Head Teacher Lisa Morris explained how Hope sought to provide a distinctive community ethos as part of its focus on giving local children the best start to their education.
The Education Secretary was also shown the current construction work on Hope’s new school building and was asked by Chair of Governors Paul Weston to write a word on and then lay the first brick for the building. Mrs Morgan wrote ‘aspiration’ and said she hoped the school would help children aim high for the future.
Hope Community School welcomed its first class of ‘pioneers’ when the school opened in September last year. It was founded by a team from New Generation Church, Sidcup in partnership with local businesses and community organisations. Hope is one of over 174 free schools established under Government reforms to offer more choice in education and to enable schools to be set up by groups of parents, teachers or charities.
Commenting James said:
“I’m delighted that the Education Secretary was able to hear first-hand about Hope’s community ethos whilst delivering high standards and excellent teaching.
“It has been an incredible journey turning the idea of a new fee school into the reality of a living learning environment.
“Hope is now starting a new chapter with the construction of its new building with Nicky Morgan’s word ‘aspiration’ within the fabric of its foundations.
“It certainly brings home the reality of the Government’s free school reforms which made this school possible and I hope will continue to raise not only aspiration but also ambition for learning for years to come.”