Professor Green and Professor Anthony Grayling launch Hackney New School's swanky site
PUBLISHED: 16:07 12 May 2016 | UPDATED: 16:23 12 May 2016
Two professors - one qualified and the other a rapper - joined pupils, teachers and parents as they celebrated the launch of their brand new school building.
Professor Anthony “AC” Grayling, founder of the private New College of the Humanities uni and author of more than 30 philosophy books, joined Stephen Manderson – aka chart-topping rapper Professor Green – at Hackney New School.
Although the free school in Kingsland Road opened its doors to its first cohort of 100 pupils in 2013, its state-of-the-art building was not ready for pupils until the start of this term.
A celebration held at the music specialist school on Friday night saw talented pupils demonstrating their skills with Hannah Watkins-Ray playing Debussy on the piano, Theo Hinton-Hallows playing Seitz on the violin, and Nicole Monteiro Ariza singing Elton John’s Can You Feel The Love Tonight.
Mr Manderson nodded his head to the rhythm as the school’s samba band played their own composition Celebration.
Green, who grew up on the Northwold Estate in Upper Clapton sharing a three-bedroom flat with five others, told the crowd his upbringing in Hackney had been very culturally rich.
“People always say it must have been really tough growing up in Hackney,” he said, “but it was all I knew and the cultural vibe was incredible.”
He continued: “My nan was busy when I was a kid, she was out working three jobs a day, I was brought up by my great gran, and it was thanks to Edie that I had a large vocabulary, I read very young, she made learning interesting.
“I was a bright kid and I did alright, but she passed when I was 13 and that’s when I stopped going to school.”
“On one hand I wouldn’t change anything,” he told pupils.
“I have had some incredible experiences, hypothetically I could have done an awful lot, I wish I’d learned more, it’s the social aspect of it as well, the relationships that you form.”
Co-founder Sophie Solomon asked him what message he might have for the pupils at HNS.
“Seriously, I think they’ve got a pretty good handle on things,” he said.
“It’s amazing to see so many happy students. Here it’s like: things are going pretty well, you’ve got an incredible opportunity.
“The only instrument I ever learned was the recorder at primary school. Just work hard and apply yourself, and enjoy the wonderful things.”
Co-founder Andreas Wesemann introduced Prof Grayling, who told pupils: “The process of education is teaching people how to learn and how to evaluate and how to keep on wanting to learn.
“When a new institution like this comes into being, and in its very physical manner shines light on everyone who is here and offers them this great opportunity for life-long learning, it is a very great event.
“So I congratulate you on Hackney New School and wish it very well – and look forward to some of your students coming to study with me.”