7th April 2017
In four days there will be exactly five months until Harris Academy Riverside students appear in their uniforms for their first day out our new academy; 11th September 2017.
There has been a long process to reach this point; free schools have to convince the Department for Education that there is a demand for a new academy; they have to buy land at the same time, secure planning permission, consult with local authorities, sign up potential parents, appoint staff, write policies and complete a huge amount of paper work and administrative procedure. This process has been going on for well over a year.
I’m glad to say that the Harris Federation has some amazing people who do these things for a living and who have secured an enviable reputation with the authorities who matter. The Harris Federation has opened many academies and turned many others around from failing schools to outstanding academies.
Due to their reputation and the consistent success of our sister academy, Harris Academy Chafford Hundred, we have had little problem in filling our places. At the current date, we have a handful of places left but don’t expect those to hang around for very long.
We are well on the way to appointing all the staff we need and have our plans for equipment, fitting out and resourcing the academy; we have just ordered the final furniture, desks, science benches, interactive whiteboards, laptops and notice boards.
We expect a lot of work to go on over Easter so that class rooms are ready for our transition week commencing on 3rd July when all our students will come together for a week on site to begin to learn about our culture and expectations and to meet their new teachers.
Before that date, in the first few weeks of June we will meet every student, parent or carer that we can to get to know each student’s individual needs and to let each know ‘one to one’ our expectations. That is when we will collect all our data, addresses, special interests and so on. We will start telephoning round soon to arrange those meetings.
We are also currently planning our open evening which will be held on 27th April at 5 pm. We are inviting all students, parents or carers to our site for speeches and to meet some teachers and other staff.
I am confident that our new academy will be outstanding. The Harris Federation will not stand for anything less.. ‘Outstanding,’ however, is only part of the story.
I want Harris Riverside students to learn how to be successful, how to be happy and confident; to be compassionate and kind and to inspire their community. I hope that we will meet and exceed the aspirations of parents and carers. We are working very hard with our plans and preparations to make that a reality and to make that day in September the very first day of a very successful career for your children.
I will keep parents updated here as things progress…
Andrew Betts, 7th April 2017