Harperbury Free School will provide 'holistic, rigorous education', says new head (From Watford Observer)
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Harperbury Free School will provide 'holistic, rigorous education', says new head Martin Blain
An "exciting" new school set to open next September will bring out the best in each of its pupils, its future headteacher has said.
Harperbury Free School, which is due to open near Radlett, has just started accepting applications for its first cohort of 120 Year 7 students.
Martin Blain is currently deputy head at Immanuel College, in Elstree Road, in Bushey.
The newly appointed headteacher is already planning a curriculum for the free school that will combine the traditional and the cutting edge.
The Cambridge graduate, who has been teaching for 20 years, said: "Our school will provide a holistic, rigorous education that will recognise the needs of each individual child and their strengths and weaknesses.
"We will work to support their weaknesses and challenging their strengths."
Classes will vary from longer lessons for humanities subjects such as English and shorter, more intense ones repeated every day for subjects like maths and languages.
Pupils will have an hour each day for creative or physical activity, before doing their homework at school in the presence of the teacher who set it.
He added: "The school day will run from 8am until 5pm, which may seem very long, but it will be full of creative activity and play.
"The children will go home tired, but having tired children shows we have been doing something good."
Individual learning will be a key focus and each student will have a laptop or iPad with software that will monitor their progress on various tasks, allowing them to work at their own pace.
The school will be very much a local one and will have close links with businesses who will work with pupils on long term projects.
Mr Blain added: "We’re taking the best bits from a range of schools and institutions.
"We want creative, intelligent teachers who will work hard and rise.
"We aim to be successful from the start."
A former civil engineer, he was inspired to teach after a chance encounter with a Mexican street child with whom he did sums.
He added: "I thought the child was simply begging from me, but instead of running away with the money he did a sum showing how he would spend it.
"I was surprised by how fun and engaging I found it. Two years later I became a teacher and I haven’t looked back since."
The father, who is juggling the new school with looking after two children under three, has been deputy head at the Bushey school since January last year.
He added: "I’m leaving my current job in January to work full time on the new school.
"I’m so excited to be starting from scratch and putting my ideas into practice with a building designed to cater to our needs."
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