Back to the beginning of time! – All Saturday classes are now at Greenwich

It is a wonderful spectacle looking at the Thames from the foyer outside the Royal George in Queen Anne Court. When there isn’t a major box office film being shot on the lawns beside Trinity College of Music there are usually people enjoying a picnic. It is such a scene!

For the last five years, we have had the privilege of being based in this magnificent building at the Royal Naval College in Greenwich. Three or so years before that, our Saturday classes operated from City University. Until this summer we have been operating from both Greenwich and City University in parallel. It is unfortunate that City University is struggling for space to accommodate its own full time students and we have had to leave this venue at City. With the excellent relationship we have had with staff at City University over the last eight or so years, it is very difficult to depart.

Being based exclusively at Greenwich presents an opportunity for us to focus on getting more out of the marvellous environment there. Having said that, we will be opening one or two more centres in central / north London soon, hopefully by the New Year or earlier. Despite the excellent facilities we have at Greenwich, it is perceived as a rather difficult place to travel to. It is actually not a reputation Greenwich deserves as it is only a 10 minute train journey from London Bridge Station. The DLR is also an alternative, which goes from Stratford or Bank to Cutty Sark, which is right next door to the Old Royal Naval College. If you really want to travel to Greenwich in style, you could take the boat from Westminster pier or from London Bridge.

As a way of giving young people the benefit of getting more out of the day, a Maths club and also the creative writing club are being provided for them on Saturday afternoons. This is at no extra cost to the parents of our existing Saturday School students. The Maths club will be led by Mr Thomson and Mr Anokye, who both have over 50 years of teaching experience to share between them – that is a lot of Maths! We are very fortunate that the creative writing course is run by no one less than Peter Pegnall – the very able poet, who runs Richmond’s Bright Scarf poetry group. His published works include Broken Eggs, Season of missed chances and many more. Peter also blogs regularly for the Telegraph, among others. We are planning a big launch event for the creative writing club, which will include adult sessions, in the New Year.

For some of the parents of our students, coming to Greenwich on a Saturday provides an opportunity to explore Greenwich village, home to trendy cafés and the varied and delicious cuisine of Greenwich Market. The Royal observatory, home of the Prime Meridian is just up the Hill. Maritime museum?

I look forward with great enthusiasm to the academic year ahead and we intend to make the very best of the opportunities Greenwich has to offer.

Finally, congratulations to a former Excel in Key Subjects student

I should take this opportunity to congratulate Israel Kolade, who has just started to study medicine at Kings College, London. Israel joined Excel in Key Subjects in the middle of his AS year and stayed with us until the end of his A2 studies. He now works part time with us on a Saturday as an administrative assistant. Israel featured in one of the videos on our website and he is always happy to speak to parents and students when they visit us. In my next blog I will be discussing the new O-level style examinations the Government is introducing, after proposing to abandon GCSE.

Peter Pegnall –