Compass School Southwark celebrates success of free schools with Prime Minister
Prime Minister attends New Schools Receptiono On Monday, 13th October, Lauren Thorpe visited Lancaster House in London to represent Compass School Southwark at a reception celebrating the success of free schools across the country. They were joined by the Prime Minister, Rt Hon David Cameron and Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Nicky Morgan. The event was organised by education charity New Schools Network. Establishing new schools is a crucial and effective way to improve education across the country - boosting choice for parents and helping drive up standards across the board. They are brand new state-funded schools, independent of local council control. They have the freedom to innovate and respond directly to the needs of parents and local communities. Lauren Thorpe from Compass School Southwark was one of over 200 schools represented at the event. The first free schools opened just over three years ago in September 2011, yet there are now 360 of these schools open or approved to open, together creating more than 200,000 new school places. The Prime Minister, said:
 “The success of free schools has been remarkable. The creation of 251 new free schools in just four and a half years, with three-quarters of them being rated good or outstanding, is something to be incredibly proud of. Free schools bring innovation, create choice and competition, and raise standards and I whole-heartedly believe that they are driving an extraordinary and beneficial change in Britain. We want to go on investing and helping with the Free School success, to create the best education system in Western Europe that enables young people to get on and make the most of their lives”.
Lauren Thorpe, Principal of Compass School Southwark, said:
 "I am delighted to be able to celebrate the success of so many free schools, including Compass School. We are incredibly proud of the education that we are providing to young people in the Borough of Southwark and we are immensely excited about the opportunities that we are able to offer. In just over a year we have built a strong culture for learning where students, staff and parents have high expectations and aspirations of what we can achieve together. Compass School will continue to work with our community and other local schools to improve the quality of education provision, and offer families in our community more choice over where to go to school."
 Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:
“I am immensely proud of everything that has been achieved through the free schools programme in a relatively short space of time - because this programme is a vital part of our wider plan for improving education in London. “Thanks to this plan more children in England have the opportunity to go to a good or outstanding school than ever before and free schools have been crucial to that change - with more than two-thirds of free schools meeting this high standard. “We are giving thousands more parents a choice of high-quality local schools that offer the excellent standard of education that all pupils deserve.”
Natalie Evans, Director of New Schools Network, added:
“Compass School Southwark is one of more than 360 free schools now open or approved to open in England.  Free schools are continuing to prove popular with parents, and are adding good new school places to their local communities. “Over 250 Free Schools are now open in every region of England, with more than 110 more due to open from September 2015 onwards. Once full these schools will provide nearly 200,000 new school places."
Compass School explores the great outdoors!
For three days, Compass School students explored the great outdoors, developed their resilience and learned how to work effectively in teams as part of a three day residential trip to Blacklands Farm, just 50 miles south of London.
Wednesday 8 October - PM
After a traffic filled journey out of London, we arrived at Blacklands Farm just before lunch and were met by the 4th Dimension team. It had rained all morning, but that didn't stop us from getting straight off the coaches (with our wellies in most cases!) and into some fantastic activities. The first afternoon has seen students kayaking, dragonboat racing, completing a gladiator climbing challenge, abseiling and orienteering! The evening saw our students out on the climbing wall, followed by a well deserved cup of hot chocolate and some biscuits. What a day!
Thursday 9 October - AM
An early start at 7am saw the students file in for breakfast of cereals and then beans on toast to prepare them for the challenging day ahead. Compass students wrapped up warm and threw on their waterproofs, knowing that we were in for a day of sunshine and showers. And straight into the first activities of the day - students who had not had a great nights sleep and were still a little sleepy certainly woke up when the heavens opened  and we all got soaked! Quickly though, the sun returned and students carried on. Well done to the students out on the lake for managing to stay (relatively) dry and for the orienteering group who said they found all the markers on the course by working well together as a team!
Thursday 9 October - PM
More challenge, more adventure and (sadly) more rain! Our students are certainly developing their resilience! Another afternoon of activities was followed by a lovely dinner and the indoor olympics! Never has anyone seen a cucumber be flung so far like a discus, or a tomato be shot-put through the air! You had to see it to believe it.
Friday 10 October  - AM
The last morning, and everyone was feeling a little sad that we would have to leave. The instructors and team and 4th Dimension made sure that we were fully prepared for the final activities of the trip by serving us fantastic sausage muffins for breakfast. The last activities saw students participate in something else new, before we boarded the coach to head home. See a short video of our antics below!

Blacklands Farm residential visit 2014 by Slidely Slideshow

After the visit we received some lovely feedback from Rich and his team at Blacklands Farm. We can't wait to visit them again next year!

I am thrilled to hear that the trip has left a lasting impression on all involved! We really enjoyed having you all here and thank you for the fantastic support from yourself and all your staff. The children were a delight. It is rare that we have guests from inner London, but when we do they are often some of the most rewarding courses to run. You are obviously all doing an amazing job there and I hope that 4th Dimension can continue to be a small part of your students' journey at Compass, as your school continues to grow. Really looking forward to seeing you all again next year!