French school Lycee Internationale de Londres Winston Churchill opens in Wembley
- Credit: Archant
A modern 21st century French school has opened in Wembley in the former town hall building.
Lycee Internationale de Londres Winston Churchill, in Forty Lane, has given the borough’s historic building “a new life” with state of the art innovations, including a bookless library – the Weblioteque.
The Lycee opened on September 3 welcoming 465 pupils just as Wembley is undergoing its own multi million pound regeneration.
Mireille Rabate, headteacher, said: “It feels very serendipitous. It’s a new beginning for the area and a rebirth for this building. It was the right fit for us to have an international school in a very diverse community.
She described the grade II listed building as “stunning”. Many of the old features remain, including the council chamber and committee rooms as well as pieces of furniture. She said: “I’m very happy with the way it’s been remodelled. It makes an impression on people. It’s a building with a story and a history and you can feel it. There’s a vibe.”
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The school can take up to 1,300 pupils from five to 18, both French and bi-lingual. Some lessons, such as science and history will be taught in English to particular groups.
The largest growth has been in Year 11, with 140 students, most of them transfers from the College Francais Bilingue de Londres in Kentish Town, which finishes in year 10 (under the French system).
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Unusually for a French school, pupils wear a ‘relaxed’ uniform, - four tops in purple, burnt orange, light blue and aqua green - which Ms Rabate said was “one way of feeling part of the community.”
Lycee pupils work from a tablet and will be accessing online pdf pages rather than leafing through text books as they study the French curriculum towards the Baccalaureate.
There are 14 science labs, three ‘lounge’ areas for different year groups and a sleek canteen where lunch is included in the £10,000 annual fee.
“We wanted a site where we could expand and have a lot of room. We wanted a place where we could find a big building and a big space where our children could roam around and have the space to grow. I call them my free range chickens.
There are plans to open the school to the wider community hosting events, conferences, and poetry evenings with equipment fully connected to the internet for international audiences at a later date.
Ms Rabate explained her huge programme for the school will grow in its own time. She explained: “Opening a school is usually like making a baby, starting small. You open a couple of classrooms. We probably made a teenage baby. Our goal is to integrate the community in a harmonious way, bring a little French touch.”