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Cabinet Minister marks grand opening of country’s first ever parent promoted school

Pupils at The Elmgreen School in Lambeth – the first parent promoted school in the country – will be visited by Tessa Jowell MP, to mark the grand opening of their excellent new building this week.

The Olympic Minister and MP for Dulwich and West Norwood will celebrate with pupils, teachers, and parents when she visits the school at its permanent site in Elmcourt Road, West Norwood, at 11am, on Thursday. (Feb 4)

The Elmgreen School was the first ever parent promoted school in the country when it opened at its temporary site in Gipsy Road, in 2007. This came after four years of partnership working between the Parent Promoter Foundation (PPF) and Lambeth Council to improve the number of secondary school places in the borough. The Elmgreen School openend its gates for the first time at its permanent site in September.

The PPF, which is comprised of 450 members, helped develop The Elmgreen School by working in partnership with the headteacher and staff. Parents form the majority of the governing body, which makes key decisions on matters including the curriculum and annual budget setting. The PPF has launched numerous projects to support the school’s ethos of ‘family engagement’, these include: A ‘Family Forum’ set up to promote new thinking and discussion around education issues, and the ‘Gardening Club’ for green-fingered parents to carry out additional horticultural work.

Built using funding from Lambeth’s £300million Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, the school forms part of a longer term plan in which Lambeth will use BSF investment to provide first class schools for all its children and young people.

John Wilkinson, Acting Headteacher, said: “We were very privileged, as school staff, to be so closely involved, with the architects, in creating a building that reflects the ethos of the school. Being in our new building has transformed the learning opportunities available to students and families.”

Councillor Paul McGlone, Lambeth Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Service, added: “I’m absolutely delighted with the Elmgreen School – the finished article is a world-class building and a testimony to the vision and partnership working of the Parent Promoter Foundation (PPF) and Lambeth Council’s award-winning Building Schools for the Future Team.”

Built by construction company Carillion plc and designed by architects, Scott Brownrigg, the £26 million three-storey school building provides 1,100 places for 11-18 year-olds, including a 30-place hearing support department and a 200-place sixth form. The school also boasts an impressive range of state-of-the-art facilities, including:

  • The ‘Market Square Design’, a breathtaking contemporary take on the ‘medieval community space’
  • Activity studio for dance and drama
  • Environmental science and habitat gardens offering varied learning opportunities 
  • Recording studio with links to both assembly hall and ensemble room
  • Four court sports hall tailored to Sports England specifications
  • Seven-a-side floodlit football pitch
  • excellent ICT facilities with partnership room and extra ICT facilities for parents and carers
  • library at the heart of the school direcly accesbile from the reception area
  • amphitheatre area linking to the assembly hall for ‘whole school’ gatherings
  • dining terrace overlooking the sports pitch
  • environmental science and habitat gardens offering varied learning opportunities
  • Sustainable energy features such as wind turbines, bio-mass boilers, and grey water harvesting

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