New school students received a special welcome to secondary school as the education councillor visited to see how the youngsters were settling in.

James Halden, Thurrock councillor for education and health, dropped by Hassenbrook Academy in Stanford-le-Hope.

He said: “What a pleasure to be in this exciting school community where so much progress is being made. I was particularly impressed with the students who demonstrated such confidence with their learning, particularly in Maths.”

Headteacher Jo Williams said: “It’s natural for some students to be a little anxious starting at secondary school. Mr Halden’s visit gave our newest students an opportunity to explain what they’re most looking forward to.”