Changes For Education On Portland
12:03am 17th February 2013
An official ceremony has taken place on Portland which will see the future of education on the Island change forever.
Portland Alridge Community Academy has been handed the new Osprey Quay Campus.
The site will house one of the Academy's two hubs for Nursery to Year 3 Students and will also operate as a focus for marine studies.
The event was attended by the High Sheriff of Dorset, Jeremy Pope, Weymouth and Portland Town Councillors for Underhill Ward, County Councillor for Portland Harbour Tim Munro, the Chair of the Portland Community Partnership, Andy Matthews, local business leaders, students and teachers.
Representing the County Council, Councillor Toni Coombs, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, spoke about the journey from the earliest plans of the predecessor schools on Portland in 2007 to the Academy today. She described the Academy as "the right solution for the Island" and said; "I feel privileged to have been part of the journey and look forward to the success of the children on the Island."
Dorset County Council Chief Executive Debbie Ward stressed the strong emphasis on partnership and inclusion that has driven the Academy project. She said: "Partnership is at the heart of the success of this project." She pledged the Council's continuing support for the Academy, which she described as: "Really significant for Dorset - a combination of the best of academy status and local authority experience."
Thanking the Council Sir Rod Aldridge, chairman of Academy sponsors the Aldridge Foundation, said: "I have no doubt that this Academy will be one people from all over the Country will want to visit in future. Osprey Quay Campus is the first step in providing Portland's students, our teaching staff and Principal with the facilities to be successful. I believe there are no limits to what our children can achieve if they are given the right support, and that they have the right to expect that support. We will do everything to make IPACA a success."
"This is a community asset for the benefit of the community. I recognise that some people are worried about change, but in a fast-changing world 'no change' is just not an option these days."
This sentiment was echoed by the Academy's Patron, Professor Stephen Heppell, who spoke about the need for education to give students the confidence and entrepreneurial skills to deal with new and unexpected challenges - reflecting that the top 10 most popular jobs in 2012 didn't even exist in 2004. Pointing to the Academy logo behind him, he told the audience: "Our logo isn't Together We Might, it's Together We CAN! And we couldn't ask for a better Principal to help our children succeed."
Principal Alison Appleyard thanked DCC and the Aldridge Foundation for their continued support, saying: "Our mission states that We demand the best for our students. This wonderful Campus represents the best, and I want all of our students to be able to enjoy exactly this standard of facilities. This has been a long journey, but we are on an upward trajectory and we are going to make it. We are in it for the long haul and we are determined to give all of our children and young people the best chance of success in 21st century life."
Guests enjoyed a dance performance and heard from students of as young as 7 about IPACA's Digital Leaders programme, which involved students from 3 to 16 in developing how the Academy will use new technology in learning all subjects. Guests also saw demonstrations of the use of IPADs, Skype and Interactive Plasma Screen technology by the students as well as going on a guided tour of the facilities.