A school in Ealing will be opening this September, after a year’s delay due to COVID-19.

Ark Soane Academy (ASA) which will be based on Gunnersbury Lane, will be welcoming its first cohort of Year 7 students after its opening was delayed in 2020.

Matthew Neuberger was appointed headteacher in January, and he's quite impatient to get started following the delays.

He said: “Everyone who is a part of the team is excited and impatient to get this project underway as quickly as we can.

"We’ve had a lot of conversations with parents over Zoom, but that ability to shake people’s hands or have a quiet word about their worries becomes a lot more difficult when you’re doing everything remotely.

“Microsoft Teams or Zoom is the imperfect substitution that makes wanting to reach out, wanting to be as open and communicative as possible, a lot more difficult.”

The school has been in the pipeline since a joint-proposal between Ark, who have 38 schools spread across the UK, and Ealing Council was submitted in 2014.

Planning for ASA was granted in 2018, and the first of the two buildings are ready for occupation in the summer.

The second building work has been started on-site and will be completed in the summer of 2022.

In September 2021, the ‘founding cohort’ will be a group of 180 students in Year 7 who will join the school, and from that point onwards, each year group will fill with 180 students every year.

ASA will reach its full capacity of 1,200 pupils in 2027, including 300 sixth form spaces.

Neuberger mentioned that the growth of the school will be gradual as a result.

He said: “When you come to our school in five years’ time, you should expect students to be welcoming you and holding the door open for you.

“Everybody you talk to will think that Ark Soane is a real addition to the community.”

Neuberger started off by teaching Maths out of university in Thamesmead, followed by a few years teaching in Italy.

He then took a short hiatus to gain experience, working in roles such as head of a policy unit in HM Revenue & Customs.

He returned to education in 2015 as Leader of Sixth Form at Ark Putney Academy.

Neuberger’s grandparents were of German-Jewish descent, who fled Germany in the late 1930’s.

He says that this background is what set his vision and beliefs in the power of transforming people’s lives through education.

He said: “I’m really committed to the cosmopolitan, multi-cultural, and comprehensive education that we’re going to offer.

“I think that is a sign of a vibrant community which I know that Acton is, and London will remain.”

Kirsty Mack is the Project Manager for the build, and she and her team have been in charge of bringing the facilities of Ark Soane to life.

She added: “We had to defer the opening of the school by a year, due to the delays of the building.

“It was very unfortunate, but everything is now back on track and as it should be. Just a year later.”

For more information on the building and facilities as well as any other general information, the prospectus can be found here.