Paralympic discus player helps The Village throw opening party

A former solider, who lost his legs in a roadside bomb in Afghanistan and went on to represent Great Britain at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, has officially opened The Village School.

Fijian-born, Derek Derenalagi, 39, who threw discus for Team GB, was presented with a medal and a picture by pupils during his visit to Kingsbury on Friday. 

The £29 million school is the council's largest ever investment in special educational needs provision with purpose-built facilities for over 230 children and young people aged two to 19, with complex learning difficulties and disabilities, as well as facilities and work-related learning for the local community.

Head teacher, Kay Johnson, said: "We were honoured to have Derek open our amazing school; he is such a fine role model for our pupils. This wonderful building reflects all of what we asked for and more. It's the result of an exceptional consultation process and the passion and determination from everyone who was involved in the project to deliver the best possible provision for our pupils."

Facilities at the school include a large performing arts centre and assembly hall with music, art and drama facilities, a sports hall and MUGA multi-use games area, a pool with hydrotherapy facilities and a café and a shop, which pupils help to run.

A section of the building's flat roof has been transformed into a running track and play area and there is even a self-contained flat within the school, which has been designed to give older pupils independence and choice and the chance to learn important life skills.

On the same site is a specialist short break centre for families of children with disabilities, which was opened by the Paralympic medallist and TV presenter Ade Adepitan in May 2013.

Since it opened The Village has won several awards including the Continuing Professional Learning and Development Gold Award - one of the first two schools in the country to achieve this rating.