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TAKE A LOOK at the £3.5million building transforming students' lives at this specialist Bromley school

PUBLISHED: 15:18 27 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:18 27 March 2017

Andrez Harriott tried out some of the student's cooking at Bromley Beacon Academy's food technology suite

Andrez Harriott tried out some of the student's cooking at Bromley Beacon Academy's food technology suite

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Students and teachers at Bromley Beacon Academy have been praised by their head

Bromley Beacon Academy offers a motorbike workshop to students aged 14-18.Bromley Beacon Academy offers a motorbike workshop to students aged 14-18.

Young people with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs around the borough now have access to top of the range facilities, helping them get ready for the world of work.

Bromley Beacon Academy, part of the Bromley Educational Trust, already has a site in Orpington, but with demand growing, the council invested £3.5million to build a brand new campus in Old Homesdale Road, which was officially opened last week.

The site, known as Beacon House, is specifically for students aged 14 to 18 first opened its doors in September, but mayor Ian Payne was on hand last week to make the opening official in an evening celebrating the academy’s success so far.

With a focus on vocational qualifications, the building has state-of-the-art facilities including a motorcycle workshop, food technology suite, music recording studio and construction centre, while ateachers also work to develop students’ maths and English skills.

Left to right, Bromley council chief executive Doug Patterson, Mayor Ian Payne, Bromley Educational Trust CEO, Sam Parrett and Bromley Beacon Academy's executive head, Neil MillerLeft to right, Bromley council chief executive Doug Patterson, Mayor Ian Payne, Bromley Educational Trust CEO, Sam Parrett and Bromley Beacon Academy's executive head, Neil Miller

Executive head of the academy, Neil Miller, was full of praise for the students and teachers at the school.

Speaking at the launch on Thursday, he said: “You’ve got to have a real passion to want to work with these young people.

“The dedication of our staff is a real strength, as well as being good at teaching, they’ve also got the ability to forge great relationships with students, not every teacher can do that.

“And I’m hugely proud of our students who have been such a credit to the school this evening.”

The new campus in Old Homesdale Road offers a music recording studioThe new campus in Old Homesdale Road offers a music recording studio

Former pop-group star Andrez Harriott was also on hand during the night.

The former Damage singer now runs The Liminality Group - a charity dedicated to providing essential support for young people at risk of falling into criminal behaviour.

He said: “We’re always thinking about ways to try and deter young people from crime, so although they’ve spent a tremendous amount of money and have great staff here, it’s also important to provide PSHE-type sessions with young people to look at things like gangs or serious violence, and the impact these can have on themselves and their family.

“We also look at helping them plan for the future, but we do it in a contemporary way.”

Bromley mayor Ian Payne was on hand to officially open Bromley Beacon Academy's new campus, and had time for a few selfies tooBromley mayor Ian Payne was on hand to officially open Bromley Beacon Academy's new campus, and had time for a few selfies too

There are already more than 50 students at the school, and that number is expected to rise as the number of youngsters with SEMH needs goes up in Bromley.

But despite growing numbers, the leader of the trust running the school is optimistic for the future, after a dramatic turnaround in standards.

Sam Parrett said: “Bromley Educational Trust took over the failing Burwood School in 2015 and converted it to Bromley Beacon Academy – expanding provision from 11-16 year old boys to a mixed school for 7-18 year olds.

“In this time, thanks to the tireless work of executive head teacher Neil Miller and his dedicated team, Bromley Beacon Academy has completely transformed specialist provision for young people with SEMH needs.

“The £3.5m investment to build this incredible new campus has brought so many benefits to young people and their families. We are extremely grateful to the local authority for recognising the need to improve alternative and special provision in the Borough.

“Not only do students receive the specialist support they need here, they also have the opportunity to learn a variety of vocational skills to help prepare them for the world of work.

“I have no doubt that BBA will continue going from strength to strength and thank everyone involved for their continuing support.”

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