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£15m academy in East Bowling approved
7:00am Saturday 14th December 2013 in News
A £15 million secondary academy is to be built in Bradford.
The Church of England school will be sponsored by the Diocese of Bradford and is expected to open in 2015.
It will be built in Douglas Road, East Bowling, and will cater for 1,050 children aged 11 to 16.
Academies are often seen as a way of running state schools without the involvement of the local authority.
But in the first instance of its kind in the district, Bradford Council played a key role in the bidding process, by seeking potential organisations to run the school and putting in the bid to the Department for Education.
It will also provide the land and the fixtures and fittings while the Department for Education will put up £15 million for the building work.
The school will be run by the Bradford Diocesan Academy Trust, which runs two primaries in the district, St Oswalds CofE Primary Academy in Great Horton, Bradford, and Christ Church CofE Academy in Shipley.
The Ven Dr David Lee, chairman of Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust, said: “What’s really exciting about this is we are going to get a school in an area where there is growing demand but we are also modelling collaboration between all the parties in a new way which I think is great for education.”
Councillor Ralph Berry, the Council’s executive member for children’s services, welcomed the news of the successful bid. He said it would help to address a serious shortage of school places in the city.
He said: “I’m really glad we have got this in place. These are urgently needed places, very urgently.”
Dr Lee said the trust would spend the next few months getting to know the area, talking to the community and to local primary schools about what kind of school it might be, and what subject it might specialise in.
Meanwhile, teaching unions have hit back in the row over failing schools becoming academies.
“The assumption that this is the answer to everything is naive,” said Pam Milner, deputy secretary of the NASUWT Bradford.
The Department for Education warned this week that under-performing schools could be forced to become academies.
Ms Milner said: “We have been given one example of a school that has done well as an academy and credit where credit is due. But the report does not look at schools which have become academies and have not improved. Some have regressed. It is not the be all and end all.”
She criticised comments by Conservative education spokesman Councillor Roger L’Amie, who said academisation should be tried if it gave a school a chance to improve.
“That was a sweeping statement. Coun L’Amie needs to look closely at the evidence. Academies are not necessarily the answer, otherwise every one would have improved.”
Ian Murch, NUT national executive member for Bradford, said: “Academies are very expensive solutions and the notion is ideological. We want to see local school partnerships which already exist between being used as a way forward.”
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