It was the first day at big school as students and staff at the Ruth Gorse Academy swapped temporary classrooms for their new purpose-built accommodation in Hunslet.
“Stunning”, “amazing” and “spectacular” were some of the comments from the group of school ambassadors.
“Before we were in claustrophobic temporary buildings. This place has a great atmosphere that makes me want to work hard.”
The ambassadors, whose job is to be a role model and to help other students, had been given a tour of the building the day before term started. They were particularly impressed with how well equipped the Design & Technology classrooms were, they liked the sports hall and chemistry lab with a stage for the teacher to demonstrate experiments.
Principal Rebekah Taylor was very excited to be in her new school building at last:
“I do feel privileged, it’s been an amazing journey. We have gone from 95 to 550 pupils; from 6 to 89 staff.
“Our mission is to make a difference for disadvantaged young people in the city. We don’t see a difference of where you come from, we have the highest expectations of all our students.”
The student body is growing year by year and will eventually reach some 1,200 pupils. The school is very aware that it is the first city centre high school since City of Leeds moved to Woodhouse over 20 years ago. Children have been briefed about staying safe in the city centre and Year 7 children will be chaperoned from the train and bus stations.
The bulk of existing Year 7, 8 and 9 children come from South Leeds, but now the school is established in Hunslet close to the city centre they expect applications from across the city.
“It’s very exciting to be part of this new education hub on the South Bank” said Ms Taylor. “We have the Building College, Leeds City College and the new University Technical College for neighbours.
“We have also received several approaches from local businesses who are keen to work with us, so we’ve certainly been made welcome” she added.
There will be a chance for Year 6 children and their parents to look round the Ruth Gorse Academy at the upcoming Open Day on Saturday 8 October between 10am and 1pm.