Durham Free School celebrates first successful year

Durham Free School celebrates its first anniversary with a presentation event.
Durham Free School celebrates its first anniversary with a presentation event.
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A SCHOOL which made history when it opened has celebrated its first successful year.

The Durham Free School became the first of its kind in the region when it launched with 30 Year 7 pupils last September.

It quickly grew with seven more students joining and is expected to almost triple in size at the start of next term, when a second group of Year 7 students go through the doors.

To mark the first anniversary of the school, it held a celebration and prize-giving ceremony.

Unique to County Durham, the school, which is currently based in the former Gilesgate Sports College building, was given the go ahead to open after three years of campaigning by parents and educationalists. Parents wanted a new secondary school serving the south east of the city amid fears children in the area were missing out on high-quality education, and eventually it will house 630 students.

Headteacher Peter Cantley said: “The vision is that we become an outstanding school in every 
way.” At the prize-giving evening he told the pupils, parents and staff of The Durham Free School they had “climbed a mountain together” and had made “amazing progress”.

In his review of the year, Mr Peter Cantley listed the activities and experiences provided for the children, which included a geography and geology visit to the Lake District, an historical tour of Durham, the first residential to North Yorkshire and the chance to sing in an 8,000-strong choir at Young Voices in the Manchester MEN Arena.

He said they had enjoyed an unparalleled range of extra curricular activities from archery to Mandarin, lessons in musical instruments, membership of the School Council and a wide range of subject-based clubs, such as Young Engineers and the Art Club. Chairman of Governors, John Denning, said: “We are here to celebrate all that our pupils have achieved this year.”