Free school story: Emmanuel Community School | newschoolsnetwork.org

Free school story: Emmanuel Community School

Located in Walthamstow, one of London’s most diverse boroughs, Emmanuel Community School is a school determined to broaden horizons for its children. The school was set up in 2013 by a group of local teachers, parents and professionals in conjunction with a local Church.

The school’s Christian ethos is at the heart of its mission to serve the local community, though it welcomes children of all faiths and none.  The school’s values are prominently displayed around the school and regularly shared in assemblies and class activities, with pupils being rewarded for demonstrating them.

The friendly, inclusive environment this has created was highlighted by Ofsted, who rated the school as ‘Good’ overall, with ‘Outstanding’ leadership. Inspectors said that the “provision for pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is excellent” and that pupils’ enjoyment of school life makes them, “a delight to talk to”.

To reflect the diversity of its pupils, the school has used its free school freedoms to offer the International Primary Curriculum, a thematic curriculum which connects areas of knowledge in substantive topics and has a broader, more international focus. This perspective was evident in this year where pupils’ experienced a pretend trip to Kenya, packing a suitcase at home and then boarding a flight to Nairobi in the morning, and in a visit they received from a Ugandan children’s choir.

Community engagement is also a particular focus for the school, which is a product of countless hours of voluntary work by members of the local Emmanuel Christian Centre. It reaches out by offering parents coffee mornings, barn dances and wrap-around care for their children before and after school.