Enterprise South Liverpool Academy has been officially opened by HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, to mark the culmination of the £23million building project.
The south Liverpool school and 8.5 acre learning park is already an award-winning building having picked up prizes at the RIBA Regional Awards in April, before phase two of the scheme was completed this summer.
His Royal Highness spent more than an hour at the school, meeting students and staff as he toured the school before unveiling a plaque and being handed a painting by Year 11 student Kabita Gurung. Her painting was based on the spirit of ESLA and used a dove from the school badge, symbolising the high expectations of everyone at the school.
Headteacher Jack Pendlebury said: “The Earl’s visit is an endorsement of the fact that we are providing a very special level of education to children in this area.
“One of our ambitions here is to set very high expectations in all that we do here, and the Royal visit is one very memorable way of demonstrating that anything can be achieved at ESLA.
“Our students are able to benefit from some of the best facilities they could wish for and in the short time we have been in the new building they have shown their appreciation by rising to meet the very high standards we are setting for them.
“The Earl was very impressed by the vision we have here and we hope that his visit and kind words inspires our students to greater heights.”
The Diocese of Liverpool is one of five sponsors of the school, and were represented by the Bishop of Warrington and Dr Jon Richardson.
The Bishop of Warrington, Richard Blackburn, said: “Given the context of Liverpool and its faith community, it’s an important sign that there are so many partners that are able to come together to support the school.
“It is a symbol of the community cohesiveness and of the commitment of us all to work together for the welfare of our children.
“The Church of England has a good track record of bringing academic excellence into its schools, very much in the context of the overall educational breadth that we believe it is important for students to experience.
“I would hope that the support that we have historically given our schools will, in all sorts of ways, underpin what goes on here and provide the confidence to give pupils a really good all round education.”
Dr Jon Richardson, director of education at Diocese of Liverpool, added: “This school is a real contribution to community cohesion in south Liverpool and is providing a tremendous opportunity for educational development.
“ESLA is a wonderful facility and the Academy has become well established in the community.
“We do bring a tremendous experience in education across the Diocese. Our involvement is about what we can contribute to provide a religious character to the school that serves the whole community.
“We want ESLA to become an outstanding secondary school in the south of the city – and it is well on the way to achieving that.”
His Royal Highness was joined by a delegation of VIPs on a tour of the school and learning park, meeting staff and students, visiting classes and seeing the great facilities for himself.
Mr Pendlebury added: “The visit has only been possible because of the tremendous amount of hard work and support the school has received from its sponsors, partners and the local community.
“It is a celebration of that effort but also a reminder of the high expectations and ambitions we have for everyone here. We have a clear vision of what an education fit for the 21st century looks like and we want everyone at ESLA to seize those opportunities and use them to create their own exciting futures.”