Portslade academy awarded £12.7m

Posted On 24 Jan 2011 at 3:08 am

Portslade parents will be updated on plans to turn the town’s secondary school into an academy at a public meeting tomorrow.

The Department for Education has pledged £12.7 million to help the Aldridge Foundation turn Portslade Community College into an academy school from September.

And now that the department has formally approved the proposal to create an academy for Portslade, it only remains for Brighton and Hove City Council to do the same.

The council’s cabinet is expected to give the final go ahead at a meeting on Thursday 17 February.

The public meeting is due to start at 7.30pm in the Oasis Centre on the Chalky Road site.

Parents will be given a progress report and have an opportunity to ask questions.

They are expected to be told that the £12.7 million will help pay for new computers and IT equipment, a new sixth form centre and a refurbishment of existing buildings.

The new sixth form will be based in Chalky Road rather than on the old lower school site at the corner of High Street and Mile Oak Road.

The public meeting forms part of a final round of public consultation on the academy proposal, with the formal consultation period finishing on Monday 31 January.

The academy’s main sponsor, the Aldridge Foundation, was set up by Portslade old boy Rod Aldridge.

Privilege

After leaving what was then Portslade County School for Boys he become a millionaire businessman after setting up the outsourcing company Capita.

Mr Aldridge said that it was a privilege to be able to put something back into the local community.

He added that he wanted to see significant improvements to educational standards over the long term.

Standards at the school were criticised by Ofsted, the independent watchdog, when it placed Portslade in “special measures” in March last year.

Ofsted’s inspection report praised the new principal Stuart McLaughlin and signs of improvement since he took over.

Mr McLaughlin has been told that he will run the academy, which is co-sponsored by the council with Sussex University as the academy’s education partner.

He was passed over for the post of principal by the Aldridge Foundation when it set up the Brighton Aldridge Community Academy in Falmer.

The snub came despite the progress that he had made in raising standards at the academy’s predecessor, Falmer High School.

The Portslade academy will take up to 1,200 pupils from 11 to 16 years old and the new sixth form will take up to 250 students.

The council said that it applied to turn Portslade Community College into an academy because it was the best way to raise standards and increase the amount of government money available.

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