First free school in region open at last

Staff and pupils gather for a picture to celebrate the opening of Greater Manchester's first free school, Atherton Community School, temporarily based at Atherton's former town hall.
Staff and pupils gather for a picture to celebrate the opening of Greater Manchester's first free school, Atherton Community School, temporarily based at Atherton's former town hall.

THE region’s first ever free school opened in Atherton last week.

Atherton Community School opened its doors with principal Elizabeth Haddock welcoming the founding year seven students as they celebrated their first assembly together.

Principal Elizabeth Haddock and head of Sixth Form, Matt Bold, right, at the opening of Greater Manchester's first free school, Atherton Community School, temporarily based at Atherton's former town hall.

Principal Elizabeth Haddock and head of Sixth Form, Matt Bold, right, at the opening of Greater Manchester's first free school, Atherton Community School, temporarily based at Atherton's former town hall.

Temporarily based at Atherton town hall, the school is preparing to open a brand new Sixth Form for Atherton in September 2013.

It is the first school in Greater Manchester to open as part of the government’s Free School programme and has been established by a local team of parents and governors in partnership with the school sponsor Chapel Street.

Principal Haddock said: “My team and I are so excited to be welcoming the first ever students to Atherton’s brand new school.

“We have a fabulous and talented team of teachers and student coaches, who are going to devote themselves wholeheartedly to the success of every student. We look forward to delivering excellent teaching standards and a stimulating learning community for our students.

“We know that we have a wonderful bunch of young people joining us and we can’t wait to see them flourish.”

The school will operate from the town hall for a year before moving across to the Hamilton Street site as its permanent location.

Russell Rook, CEO for Chapel St - the school’s sponsor - added: “To be able to open our doors to the first year seven of Atherton Community School is a great privilege and we’d like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to every single person that has played a part in setting up this school.

“From local parents, carers, supporters, volunteers, businesses, churches and our advisers at the Department for Education, the creation of this new school has most certainly been a community effort.

“With such a talented teaching team and such a supportive community around them, school life at Atherton’s newest school will provide an enriching and rewarding experience for every student.”

The school is holding an open day on Saturday, October 6 for students, parents and carers who want to know more about the school’s offering.

More information is available on the school’s web site www.athertoncommunityschool.com