First-ever pupils welcomed into brand new Houstone School building
There was anticipation and excitement in the air in Houghton Regis for a historic moment as the brand-new Houstone School building opened its doors to pupils for the very first time, as young people were told “you are part of something special”.
On Friday 8th September, 180 new Year 7 students not only make their transition from primary to secondary school but took their first steps into a state-of-the-art new learning environment, delivered by Central Bedfordshire Council’s New School Places programme.
On Monday 11th September, pupils from Years 8-11 started their term and got their first experience inside their new Houstone School building.
Run by the Advantage Schools Trust, Houstone School – which takes its moniker from the historical name for the area, as recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 – is the first new secondary school the Council has built in the town.
The brand-new, three-storey Houstone School building is a major investment in secondary education in Houghton Regis, but for young people starting the academic year, it was a first-ever look inside their new surroundings and a milestone moment at the beginning of a new educational journey.
Parents, carers and pupils all gathered at the school gates on Friday before listening to an address from Principal Elizabeth English and then a first assembly in the brand-new auditorium.
Principal English told the new starters: “Before you begin your secondary school journey, I want you to think about the fact you are part of something special. You are the first pupils to walk through our gates. Nobody will ever be able to say that again.
“Today is your first day of secondary school. It is a huge milestone in your life and day in which you will likely remember for the rest of your life. We know that education is fundamentally important. Everyone wants you to do well at school. Today is a fresh start for everybody. Whether you have done well in your previous school, or had a tough time in your education so far, today you have a new opportunity to decide the type of pupil you will be.
“Every pupil at this school will be successful. That is the reason why we have started this school, because we really believe that you deserve to go to one of the best schools in the country.”
Reflecting on the school’s values of aspiration, endeavour and respect, plus Houstone’s vision, Principal English told the pupils: “You are capable of extraordinary things.”
Using the metaphor of climbing Mount Everest, which takes 58,000 steps, Principal English outlined that each of the new pupils are on a journey to success which will take them 60 months, which is 260 weeks or 1,825 days through their time at Houstone School.
“If I asked you to climb Everest today, you would not be able to do it. But if I asked you to take 30 steps today, 30 steps tomorrow, and 30 steps every day for five years, you would reach the top,” she said, adding: “Our school is set up to help you on your journey. If you follow our rules and routines perfectly, and try your very hardest, you will be successful. We will be proud of you. Your families will be proud of you. Together, we will make this happen.”
Cllr Hayley Whitaker, Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, said: “This has been a much-anticipated moment that marks an exciting new chapter in the lives of young learners, setting the stage for their bright future.
“Houghton Regis has seen significant growth in recent years and this state of the art school will provide an exciting and modern learning environment for the increasing numbers of local children. I look forward to seeing how everyone is settling in.”
Watch the moments where young people became the first-ever pupils inside the brand-new Houstone School building:
Three separate modular builds completed across Derbyshire
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