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Wessex FM News

New Academy For Portland After £7m Boost


Published at 6:46am 30th June 2011. (Updated at 8:29am 30th June 2011)

The Government's committed £7m of funding to create a new Academy on Portland to cater for 4 to 19 year olds.

This breakthrough follows over three years work by Headteachers whose shared commitment has now secured the added support of an established charitable academy sponsor. Together they will shape and deliver improved educational outcomes and benefits for the whole community, through a model specifically designed for Portland.

The Government's approval means there will be investment available to develop new and existing facilities for young people on sites across the island.

Individual schools and their Governing bodies are now considering whether to elect to move to Academy status and benefit from being part of the new model. Following their individual decisions, a wider conversation will begin with the community, about how this new model will be realised and educational standards raised. Developing plans have already taken on board local concerns and priorities previously identified through consultation.

The proposed Academy will be sponsored by The Aldridge Foundation, just awarded  the title of 'Academy Sponsor of the Year' by the British Council for School Environments (BCSE), Professor Stephen Heppell will become the Academy's Patron, with Dorset County Council as co-sponsor.

In a joint statement, Sponsors and Headteachers said:

"We believe that by working together to deliver our core principles, we can help to regenerate Portland and improve aspirations, experiences and outcomes for the whole community."

South Dorset MP Richard Drax, who led two Academy delegations to Education Minister Lord Hill, said he was delighted at the outcome.

"This is most welcome news and will at last give islanders some certainty over the future education of their children, " he said. " I am particularly glad that St George's can choose which direction to pursue, as governors, teachers and parents there have found it difficult to support the academy proposal."
"For the remaining schools on the island, the move will be a huge tonic and I am delighted that the plans have worked out. The former hotel at Southwell Business Park is an ideal location and one of the few places where there is actually some grass. "
"The next task is to ensure a smooth transition without affecting the children's education too much. I know this is uppermost in the minds of the sponsors and I look forward to witnessing an exciting and positive future for the island and its children."

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