THE beginning of a new phase in the life of another Thurrock secondary school was celebrated at the launch of Belhus Chase Specialist Humanities College.

The launch evening, combined with the school's annual Open Evening for Year Six students, was attended by more than 400 guests including Mayor Diane Revell, councillors Peter Maynard and Mike Revell, borough MP Andrew Mackinlay, former staff, students and many local residents also attended.

After enjoying opening speeches from assistant head Collette Hunnisett and Belhus Chase's first head boy and girl, Jamie Mason and Jemma Dann, visitors were taken on guided tours by the Senior Prefect team.

Specialist Link Co-ordinator for Humanities Elaine Strong said: "The pride staff and students alike feel in their school's new status was visible to all visitors as a wide range of talents and achievements were showcased across the curriculum.

"The cutting of a cake before an extensive buffet was the perfect end to the evening's celebrations leading into the illumination of a community tree' to symbolise the school's commitment to extending links with the surrounding community and partner schools."

Headteacher Tess Walker has expressed her thanks to all involved in the school's successful bid to gain Humanities status, and her pride in the Belhus Chase students and staff at the beginning of this exciting new journey."