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Haberdashers’ Borough Academy welcomes HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

Haberdashers' Borough Academy celebrated its development on the Old Fire Station site on Southwark Bridge Road by being officially opened by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, on Tuesday 7 November. A thoroughly enjoyable and exciting day for all staff and students.

Haberdashers’ Borough Academy opened to pupils in September 2019 and now has almost 900 pupils on roll across Years 7 to 11. Now in its fifth year, the school will have pupils sitting GCSEs for the first time this academic year.

Borough Academy, which receives on average four applications per school place, is exceptionally unique in its educational offer. It prides itself on its diverse and enriching curriculum and its extensive creative arts opportunities and culture, which were recently recognised with an Artsmark Gold award - the only creative quality standard for schools accredited by the Arts Council England. It supports schools to develop and celebrate arts and cultural education, putting creativity and wellbeing at the heart of the curriculum.

The education on offer at Borough is reflective of its diverse and culturally-rich community and location in the Capital. The excellent creative arts provision at Borough is just one example of the many opportunities offered to pupils that help to develop character, confidence and skills in and out of the classroom to support the success of all pupils, regardless of their starting point in life - a priority for the school and the Trust as a whole. 

The Duke of Edinburgh toured the school’s impressive facilities and met both staff and students. A morning filled with creative arts and student interaction was on offer, including The Duke meeting students taking part in a girls’ rugby training session in the multi-use games area; taking in a music and drama showcase featuring a choir, string orchestra and physical theatre troupe who performed Black Bird; participating in mosaic tableaux representing the school’s values and meeting with the school’s first artist-in-residence, Tanya Ling – well-known artist, designer and fashion illustrator.

HRH met with visitors and other esteemed guests, including Colonel Simon Duckworth OBE DL for Southwark, Councillor Michael Situ, Mayor of Southwark, Christopher Hardie, Master of The Haberdashers’ Company, members of the Haberdashers’ Company Education Committee and the school’s local governing board. A particular highlight was a showcase of the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme where Bronze Award participants set up a mock camp in their Grotto Park area and were able to chat with The Duke about their experiences of the Award so far.

Before unveiling a special plaque marking the opening of the school, The Duke met with members of Brite Box, a charity partner of the school who provide healthy recipes boxes to families identified as at risk of food insecurity. Borough student volunteers have been supporting the project and connecting with their local community and were pleased to have the opportunity to spend some time with The Duke talking about their involvement.

Declan Jones, Principal of Borough Academy, said:

We were thrilled to welcome The Duke of Edinburgh to officially open Borough Academy. It was wonderful to showcase our facilities and to see our students engage with HRH so enthusiastically. I am proud to see how this school has developed from initial plans to one that is now at the heart of its’ community and offers a truly special pupil experience.

The Trust prides itself on enriching the education of all its children and young people through a range of opportunities and experiences that support them to be successful and to become well-prepared individuals through its' Haberdashers' Advantage programme; and its' focus on school improvement and success for all. Supported by the Haberdashers' Company, one of the Twelve Great Livery companies in the city, pupils in all schools and across age groups access a wide range of opportunities which complement what is taught in classrooms and ultimately, open doors to their next steps, whether this means transitioning from primary to secondary school, going to university, embarking on apprenticeships or finding employment. 

Jan Shadick, CEO of Haberdashers’ Academies Trust South, said:

Officially opening Borough Academy marks a special point in the school’s journey. Our staff and pupils are rightly proud of their school and showcased its’ strengths to The Duke of Edinburgh. It was a privilege to be part of this special day. I look forward to seeing the school go from strength to strength, and further develop its’ local partnerships. It is an exciting time to be part of the Trust.

The day marked an exciting new chapter for Haberdashers’ Borough Academy as they continue establishing themselves as a school of choice in Southwark.

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