Go Ahead Announced For New Portland Academy
Portland Headteachers, school governors, Academy patron Professor Stephen Heppell and sponsors the Aldridge Foundation and Dorset County Council are delighted to announce that the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy has got the green light to open from the Secretary of State for Education. The funding for the Academy to open in September 2012 has now been approved by the Minister.
Sir Rod Aldridge commented: "The new Academy is the culmination of four years' work by Heads and Governing Bodies from The Grove, Brackenbury and Underhill, Southwell and Royal Manor schools, as well as the sponsors. It will transform education for Portland's young people."
"We are delighted that our shared vision has persuaded Central Government to invest £15m capital in the future of Portland. The substantial additional capital recently secured from the Department for Education means that the Academy Trust will purchase its new campus, rather than leasing it."
The Academy will open in the existing schools' buildings in September, with pupils and staff moving into new buildings at Osprey Quay and Southwell Business Park by September 2013. On completion the campus will include a 200-seat theatre, swimming pool, sports, art, drama and music facilities and professional kitchens.
The new Academy will cater for 4 – 19 year old students, giving over 16s the option to continue their education on the island for the first time. Once the new and refurbished buildings are complete, students will be able to enjoy learning without having to go through the traditionally disruptive and sometimes distressing transition of changing schools, teachers and learning styles as they move from primary to secondary. Instead, they will experience a continuity of learning, care and support as a member of the Academy community.
Speaking on behalf of the schools involved, David Louch, Chair of Governors at Southwell Community Primary School, said: "We believe that our young people deserve the best possible chances in life. We are proud to have been part of such ambitious and visionary plans to transform education and support the wider community. We know how capable our students are - with the Academy up and running, there are no limits to what they can achieve."
Councillor Toni Coombs said: "Dorset County Council has an outstanding track record in education. We have invested substantially in the programme through the building of the Osprey Quay site and our involvement will give parents, staff and governors confidence that the new Academy will still belong to the partnership of Dorset schools."
St. George's Primary School elected not to be part of the Portland Academy at launch, but have expressed a desire to work closely with the Academy. Pupils from St. George's will be able to apply to enter the Academy at Year 7.
Jane Fooks, the Aldridge Foundation's Academy Director for Portland said: "With funding now in place we can accelerate the process of recruiting an exceptional Principal to lead the Academy, and put in place detailed arrangements, from admissions to uniforms. Dorset County Council is already leading discussions with staff, and parents will be updated regularly through their existing schools. Information will also be continually updated at our website www.ipaca.org.uk ."