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Ealing Fields due to open in September 2015

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A suitable site for Ealing's new free school has been found and an announcement is expected 'very soon'.

Plans for the new secondary - due to open in South Ealing in September 2015 - are well underway but the exact location has been kept under wraps until negotiations are complete.

Last night  (Tuesday 8th) the new head teachers of Ealing Fields High School met prospective parents for the first time.

Dr Mark Fenton and Lee Faith were quizzed by more than 120 people who attended packed public meetings at The Navastartian Centre in South Ealing.

Dr Fenton, who is a National Leader of Education, has been head teacher of Dr Challoner's Grammar School, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, for the last 13 years.

The school is graded 'outstanding' by Ofsted. Last year, 99 per cent of pupils gained five A* to C at GCSE including English and maths.

Dr Fenton will continue in his post at Dr Challoner's but will be Ealing Fields High School's executive head teacher taking a part-time strategic management role.

His grammar school has worked for the last eight years with Professor Guy Claxton, patron of Ealing Fields High School who pioneered Building Learning Power (BLP).

BLP involves building key skills such as problem-solving, empathy and collaboration into each curriculum subject, for example history, maths and geography.

Dr Fenton told the public meeting: 'Clearly, one of the things about the ethos of Dr Challoner's, which is relevant here, is the focus we have on Building Learning Power, which is very much at the heart of what the vision is for this school. There will be certain elements of similarity.

'We also have extremely high standards in terms of our expectations about behaviour and ethos. We'd want to take the best from the experience that we both bring.

'I've worked with Lee before and I know that he has incredibly high standards in the schools he's worked in and been responsible for.

'We're not looking to take the DNA of one school and transplant it into another context. We'd be looking certainly to take the best of all that experience and try to make Ealing Fields a really great school.'

Mr Faith, who is a practising Ofsted inspector, has had senior leadership experience in London schools for nearly ten years. He was most recently founding head teacher of the Greenwich Free School.

He told parents: 'I'm relishing the challenge of being the head teacher at Ealing Fields High School. What's unique is the model that we now have in place, with Mark as the executive head teacher and myself as the operational head teacher.

'I can get on with the business of the day to day running of the school. That's the time consuming stuff and Mark will lead on more strategic matters. I'm looking forward to learning a lot from Mark in that respect.'

He added: 'The ingredients of great schools are the same up and down the country, irrespective of whether it's an independent school, a grammar school, an academy, a local authority school.

'Those ingredients are about really high, rigorous academic standards. But the other part of it is about developing the whole child.

'With Mark's experience and with the experiences that I bring to the table, we hope that will be a wonderful coalescence and will create an exceptional school for Ealing Fields.'

Dr Judith Mortell, head of Ealing Fields High School's steering group, said she was 'delighted and thrilled by the perfect leadership team' to deliver the school's vision.

She added: 'We've been working with the Education Funding Agency and they have identified a range of sites that would be suitable for us.

'There's one that we're particularly interested in and we're very delighted because last week it went to advanced stages of negotiations. We're really hoping that we'll be able to have some very good news to announce soon.'

Ealing Fields High School, a four-form entry school, has received backing from Education Secretary Michael Gove. In May, he praised its 'very ambitious and aspirational currriculum'.



9th July 2014