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PHOTOS & VIDEO: North Devon's first free school Route 39 opens

By NDJPhilippa  |  Posted: September 10, 2013

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The doors of North Devon’s first free school were opened yesterday for the first time.

Pupils and teachers alike arrived at Route 39 Academy’s temporary site in the former Clovelly Primary School for the first day of term.

A total of 62 Year 7 and 8 pupils are signed up to the school, which was only given the go ahead by the Department of Education last year.

Principal Joss Glossop said the first day had been successful with only a few minor hicups.

She said: “It all ran very smoothly with the vast majority of pupils arriving by school bus, we have three running from Bideford, Bude and Holsworthy.

“One problem was when we couldn't find the key to the inner door at the school house but that was quickly sorted.

“There has been a great atmosphere here.”

Lessons began yesterday morning including maths, science and English with both year groups being taught together.

VIDEO: A class being taught at Route 39:

Ms Glossop said the first three weeks of the term will be induction weeks.

She added: “This will be time for us all to get to know each other and for the pupils to get used to the school’s style of learning.

“That is the big difference between Route 39 and other schools because our learning will be done creatively.

“It is a type of learning which means it is much more profound from the outset, it is not passive learning. We are teaching how to learn in that way at the moment.”

VIDEO: A class being taught at Route 39:

Route 39’s maths teacher Laura James said: “I have been telling the pupils it is just as scary for us as it is for them.

“I don’t think any of us have started at a brand new school before.

“Some of the kids have been surprised at how small it is but have said that is a good thing.”

At the moment the school is not using any textbooks or paper as the work will be done predominately on Chromebooks, which the pupils will be given later this month.

One of the pupils Katy Martin, 11, from Sutcombe, said: “I was really nervous getting on the bus but it has been really good. English and humanities has been the best so far.

“I discussed where I was going to go with my parents and then we decided I should come to Route 39 a few months ago.

“It has made it exciting being a new school and I am looking forward to the next few weeks, most of my friends went to Holsworthy Community College.”

VIDEO: Katy Martin and Marie Poole speaking about their first day at Route 39:

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