Theresa Villiers MP joined His Eminence, Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateria and Great Britain, in unveiling a plaque to mark the opening of the new St Andrew the Apostle Greek Orthodox Secondary School in North London Business Park in her Chipping Barnet constituency.
The school is part of the Government's free schools programme which enables parents and community groups to set up their own new schools.
The event was hosted at the school's premises at the North London Business Park and was attended by parents, pupils, school governors and many of the school's supporters. The mayor of Barnet was represented by Cllr Lisa Rutter. Cllr Andreas Tambourides and Cllr Joanna Tambourides were also there to show support from Barnet Council.
Head teacher, Robert Ahern, welcomed the guests and children from the school read out stories from the life of St Andrew and sang hymns. Archbishop Gregorios carried out a service and blessing.
After helping to unveil the plaque, Theresa gave a short speech:
"For many years, the Greek Cypriot community has wanted to set up an Orthodox secondary school and I am delighted that this has now happened, thanks to Michael Gove's school reforms. Free schools are playing a key role in delivering the Government's aspiration to give every child a good start in life."
"I am delighted that after so long, Britain now has its first ever Greek Orthodox secondary school. I know this is going to be giving a top class education to all its students. I would like to thank everyone who worked so hard to make this happen, particularly Mary Karaolis and Cllr Lisa Rutter who got me involved in this project from an early stage."
The St Andrew the Apostle School welcomes children from all faith backgrounds. For more information about the school, go to http://www.standrewtheapostle.org.uk/