Eden Primary pupils in Haringey have moved into their purpose-built new home, just a year after the opening of the free school.
The first intake was able to watch it built brick-by-brick from Eden’s temporary premises of the past year in the neighbouring Fortismere Secondary.
Some parents had “tears in their eyes” as they brought their children in for the new term, said founding governors chair Peter Kessler.
The one-form entry cross-communal primary stands on the site of a former mansion which was knocked down a few years ago.
“It is a lovely building which is very organic and curvy in design,” Mr Kessler said. “Each classroom is a different shape. The main hall is fashioned after an oast house with a sloping conical roof covered in cedar shingles. There’s a lovely back garden with plenty of play space. We also have access to another piece of ground which is overgrown and which we are turning into an outdoor space for games and ecological research.”
The £2.6 million cost of erecting and equipping the building was met by the government, keen to encourage applications for its alternative model of state schooling.
“It is astonishingly good value for money,” Mr Kessler claimed. “It is probably one of the cheapest new school builds for the past 10 to 15 years.”
The school was “full and we’ve got a healthy waiting list for both years”.
Eden welcomes applications from non-Jewish pupils and has a handful in its new reception class. “Haringey doesn’t have enough primary places for children in the borough,” Mr Kessler added. “One of our non-Jewish kids didn’t have a school to go to and the family was on the point of leaving London.”