THERE were smiles all round at the opening ceremony of North Devon’s first free school despite the rainfall.
Parents, teachers, pupils, fellows and governors of Route 39 Academy gathered to celebrate the school’s celebrations yesterday afternoon.
Dressed in their new uniforms children sang and danced before enjoying a slice of cake.
The fellowship programme was also launched. Fellows will go to the school to give youngsters an insight into their jobs.
One of the fellows David Charters is based in London but is a former pupil of Park School in Barnstaple.
Mr Charters, who is a writer, said it was wonderful to become a Fellow.
He said: “The energy and enthusiasm behind the school is fantastic. You can’t fail to be impressed by it.”
David Savage is a furniture designer from Shebbear. He said showing children different career paths will give them freedom.
He said: “It encourages them to be more creative and find their passions. It sets them up in business and employment.
“It gives them freedom and control of their lives.”
Gus Grimshaw, who is a governor, said: “To see all the children and parents and the community inspires us to keep working as hard as we have.”
Actor Joss Ackland CBE enjoyed the festivities.
He said: “I am amazed, it is lovely to see all these people. It was vital to have a school back here again.
“This is where the backbone of England is.”
Jill Brennan lives in Pyworthy and enrolled her son, Andrew, 11, at the school.
Despite having to catch the school bus at 7am she said Andrew was very happy and motivated.
“I am impressed with what they have put on. Everyone is so caring and friendly. I think this will good for the area.”
Joss Glossop, principal at Route 39, said the opening ceremony went well.
“It was a memorable experience. Something myself and the children won’t ever forget.”