PRIME Minister David Cameron led the celebrations for the official opening of a new school.

Mr Cameron sent a message of congratulations to head teacher Gary Smith as the ribbon was cut to mark the official opening of Market Field School.

The school was originally designed for 60 children with special educational needs when it opened in 1976.

However, demand has rocketed with the school role reaching nearly 200 pupils.

As it struggled to cope, more and more temporary classrooms were put up in the playground – which was dubbed Shed City - and offices were converted to teaching spaces.

After a ten year campaign, Essex County Council agreed to fund an £8 million project to demolish the former school in Elmstead Market and build a new one on the site.



Mr Cameron sent a statement for the official opening saying: "I warmly congratulate Gary Smith, his staff, pupils and Essex County Council on the official opening of the new Market Field School.

"It is the culmination of many years of hard work by Gary who had the vision to see a bright new future for Market Field and the determination to turn the dream into reality.

"I had the privilege of meeting Gary and some of the children on a visit to Downing Street and know how much having a new school meant to them.

"I also know from my own family’s experience the importance of having high quality state schools like Market Field where the needs of all children can be met.

"I wish the school, teachers and most of all the children, every success for the future. Well done and good luck to you all."



Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin and retired Market Field teacher Babs Wiggins cut the claret and blue ribbon in front of the pupils and staff.

Mr Jenkin said: "Gary Smith has been a total inspirational. Your persistence has made sure this school has been built and everyone is incredibly grateful to you.

"I remember coming to this school in 2005 and the children made me promise they would get a new school.

"It has taken a while but we are here."

Mr Jenkin also paid tribute to Simon Walters, political editor of the Mail on Sunday, whose daughter Zara was a former pupil at the school, for his support and to former Essex county councillor Sarah Candy who died.

Babs taught at the school for more than 37 years but retired in 2014 before the new school was completed.

She said: "It is wonderful, awesome. It has been a long time but it is worth it.

"The resources will help the children to reach their potential."