Custom House school gives a tour to Duke of York

The Duke of York visited The Royal Docks Community School in Custom House to officially open new facilities that will help young people with learning disabilities.

The school’s first Royal visit, 1,000 students from the Prince Regent Lane school joined invited guests as Prince Andrew unveiled a plaque in the school’s rotunda reception area to mark the occasion.

He was greeted by head girl Lola Kim-Jamal, head boy Sam Knight, head teacher Ruth Martin, Deputy Mayor Councillor Lester Hudson, Tim Harrison, the chair of governors, and Teresa Onyemah, head of inclusion.

The royal guest was shown around a new wing housing the specialist Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD) facilities, part of a �2.9 million package of improvements paid for by the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, including a new dining hall, drama space and multi-use games area.

Head teacher Ruth Martin said: “It was a privilege to welcome such a distinguished guest to open our PMLD provision.

“We were delighted that we could share with him the work and achievements of our students of whom we are very proud and for whom we have very high hopes and aspirations. All our young people were so well behaved.”

Deputy Mayor Councillor Hudson said: “The new wing is a great example of the state of the art facilities that the BSF programme has introduced here and at other schools in Newham. All of our pupils deserve to have the best.”

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The PMLD wing caters for 22 pupils, 18 have complex medical needs, in enhanced classrooms with large computer screens and keyboards and a sensory room with coloured lights and different music.

Prince Andrew enjoyed some home baking with pupils in a flat designed to teach independent living.

His Royal Highness also saw a music performance by PMLD students with a solo sung by Alya Sheik, then he was presented with a picture by pupil Mehwish Shazadi.

The BSF work on remodelling the interior space at the school to accommodate the PLMD wing, improve the dining space, relocate the drama studio and create the multi-use games area was carried out by developers Jerram Falkus.