For staff, pupils and parents alike, walking through the doors of Hartsbrook E-ACT Free School was a totally new experience when it opened in September.
On Friday, children and parents and teachers celebrated the end of their first year with a party attended by Haringey Mayor Sheila Peacock.
The party itself was the end of a week of workshops across a range of subjects with help from specialist teachers at Highgate School.
For principal Sonia Mallick it was her first year in charge of a school, despite having previously worked with schools for Haringey Borough Council.
Thanking staff for their efforts, Miss Mallick said: “They have made enormous progress in a short space of time having set up a school completely from scratch.
“We have no history with any of our parents, so we are learning about them and their families in the same way that they are learning about us and school life.
“It’s really very new for everybody.”
Hartsbrook currently has 30 pupils in its Reception and Year 1 class at its temporary site at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North London’s Tottenham Green Campus but will eventually have a capacity of 420 children when it moves to purpose-built premises on the site of the Cannon rubber factory in Tottenham High Road in 2015.
Miss Mallick added that the free school, run by academy sponsor E-ACT, has no religious or academic focus but differs in that it can stay open later, with after school clubs every day lengthening the school day so parents can pick children up at 4.15pm. It also has a shorter summer holiday of August only, but longer half-term breaks.
Hartsbrook also designs its own curriculum, drawing on expertise from specialist teachers at Highgate School, sharing its pre-prep vice-principal and using staff from the private school to ‘enrich’ the learning of its pupils.