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Pupils welcomed at new Catholic school in Camborne
8:00am Monday 10th September 2012 in Cornwall
A new school in Camborne that found itself embroiled in a row about homophobia has opened its doors to pupils after a 'fraught' few weeks.
St Michael's Catholic School, formerly St Michael's Small School in Truro, is the UK's first Catholic free school for secondary education.
Based at the former Camborne Girls Grammar School at Trevu the school welcomed its first pupils to the new site on Thursday, and eventually hopes to teach 300 pupils.
The school has been at the heart of a storm after comments about "gay nonsense", by the grandfather of a former pupil.
Joyce Sanderson, a school governor, has also apologised for comments made regarding the school’s approach towards gay pupils.
She said: “My reference to ‘not encouraging’ homosexuality was meant in the context of ‘not encouraging and sexual behaviour at school’.
Adding she was "deeply sorry for any offence that this has caused".
With the school welcoming pupils, staff and backers are keen to put the episode behind them.
Principal Neil Anderson said: "It's great to be here and welcoming our first pupils into the school.
"The last couple of weeks have been fraught with some testing moments but everyone has worked incredibly hard in the short space of time since we knew we had the funding.
"Teachers have been rolling their sleeves up to ensure the school is ready and it's fantastic that the final touches have been put in place.
"The teaching staff are excited about being here and having the opportunity to develop the facility."
Art teacher, Walter Zimmerman, even got the roller out to help the contractors decorate the art room.
The first pupil through the school entrance was 11 year-old Peter Firbank from Camborne.
His mother, Kathryn, said: "We're thrilled that a small secondary school has opened in Camborne. St Michael's will be a real asset to the community and we knew we wanted our son to come here as soon as we heard about it."