School has plenty of time and space


Dr Who assistant and Brixton girl Pearl Mackie opened a new school and was grilled by pupils about the new woman doctor.

The actor, who plays Bill Potts, the first openly gay character in the BBC1 sci-fi series, cut the ribbon at Lansdowne School, Argyll Close, Stockwell.

Pupils moved into the new buildings in September 2016, but for many months had little playground space as the new school was built around the old one – then the old classrooms were demolished to provide a playground.

Pearl was given a tour of the building, sampling cupcakes in the food technology room, experiencing the sensory room and admiring an exhibition of student art work.

During a question and answer session for an all-boys class, most of them big Dr Who fans, student James Burridge asked; “What do you think about the decision to have a female doctor?”

Pearl said: “Timelords can be men or women, so I am very happy that the new Doctor is a woman. Also, Jodie Whitaker is a fantastic actress. So keep watching boys – I am sure you will love the new series.

“I hope you watch it over Christmas. You might even see me in the show.”

She also told them about meeting daleks for the first time and how she loved growing up in the vibrant, multi- cultural Brixton area. She then cut a huge blue ribbon at the front of the hall.

Lansdowne is a special needs school with 103 students, most on the autism spectrum.

It has 12 purpose-built classrooms on two floors, each with a sensory area and smart board. Between classrooms there is a breakout area with computers, for students to work or be given one-to-one help. There is an art room with a kiln, food technology room with eight work stations – each with an oven and hobs – and a school hall for assemblies and sport.

There is a sensory area and a room for computers and music. A large learning resource area on the second floor has a library and spaces for groups to work.

Executive headteacher Linda Adams said: “I wanted a building in which our students could thrive. They deserve the best of facilities and that is what we have tried to provide.”

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