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David Benson

Kensington Aldridge Academy – meet the head

As construction of the new Kensington Aldridge Academy continues on the former site of Kensington Leisure Centre, Golborne Life met the new school's head, David Benson (pictured). The school is set to open in September 2014, along with a new sports and swimming centre next door. If your child is due to start secondary school in 2014, this might be the school for you.

David has solid experience of starting a new school from scratch since he was deputy head at the Ark Academy in Wembley when it opened in 2010. "I was involved in every aspect of launching Ark Academy," says David, "including recruiting staff, inducting students and planning the curriculum. I'm proud to say we achieved an 'outstanding' grade from Ofsted in our first year."

"Being in at the start of a new school is a fantastic opportunity," continues David, "because you can set the tone that you want from day one. I'm especially pleased to be starting a school in this area because I was brought up in Hammersmith and taught in Shepherds Bush before I worked at Ark Academy. I live just up the road in Kensal Rise, so I know this neighbourhood well.

"At the new school we'll be engaging the children by offering a consistent diet of excellent lessons across the board. We'll also have a strong strand of entrepreneurship, although I don't like to call it a specialism as I want us to be outstanding in all subjects.

"There will be five studio workspaces on the school premises rented to small businesses such as fashion, jewellery and digital media. The tenants of the spaces will be expected to give time every week to pupils, showing them how small businesses work. The businesses will have their own entrances and all owners and employees will have full background checks."

The academy will be open from 8.30 to 4 for the standard school day, with an extra hour until 5 for clubs which all students will be expected to attend. Clubs will have subjects like art, music, drama and sport. The school will also have the use of the brand new sports and swimming centre next door, as well as separate sporting facilities on the campus. Uniform will be compulsory and the plan is to make it both practical and affordable.

If you have a child in primary year 6, due to start at secondary in September 2014, you have until October 31st 2013 to make an application to Kensington Aldridge Academy. A link to RBK&C's booklet explaining how to apply to secondary school is below.

The school had open days in September, but there is one more on Saturday 12th October from 10am to 12 noon at Café Nova, 3-5 Thorpe Close (under the Westway), W10 5XL.

Kensington Aldridge Academy

Transferring to secondary school in September 2014 (PDF)