Archive for the 'schools' Category

Primary education to return to the Connaught Centre!

Great news today on the schools front – we have managed to reach agreement with City College Brighton & Hove to lease the Connaught Centre for use as a new 3 form entry primary school from next September. In return, we have given City College a lease to develop the City College East site at Wilson Avenue, Whitehawk. So this is a fantastic double-whammy for the City’s children and young people – not only do we have a step-change in the provision of primary places in Hove but it also allows further investment in facilities for the next generation of school leavers in need of jobs training.

The shortage of primary school places in the west of the City was something which we inherited when coming into Administration in 2007 and we have been working very hard to address it. We have already expanded Davigdor Infant, Somerhill Junior, West Blatchington Primary, Goldstone Primary, Westdene Primary and Benfield Junior Schools, but the acquisition of the Connaught takes things onto another level.

The Grade 2 listed Connaught Centre, was originally built for primary education back in 1884 and all parties were determined that it should be kept in community use for educational purposes. I’m delighted we’ve been able to achieve that and I would like to thank Phil Frier at City College for his constructive approach to the negotiations.

Coming on the back of the opening of the new Brighton Aldridge Community Academy and record GCSE results, I’m delighted with the way that education in the City is progressing at the moment.

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Academy schools can make a real difference in Brighton & Hove

It was really encouraging to see the report out on Friday from the National Audit Office which concluded that Academy schools have achieved greater rates of academic improvement than their predecessor schools.

In Brighton & Hove, we have just opened a new Academy school at Falmer with Rod Aldridge of the Aldridge Foundation and are extremely hopeful that this will have a similar impact. By their own admission, GCSE results at Falmer this year were disappointing and have been well below average for some time now. We owe it to the children in this part of the City to turn this situation around. The new Academy building is still being constructed and will open fully in September 2011, but phase one is now complete and the Academy officially opened last week. This is a really exciting development and represents upwards of £25 million of investment in a new state-of-the-art educational establishment.

We also remain very hopeful of being able to turn Portslade Community College into an Academy. We should know more after the Government has completed its Comprehensive Spending Review in October but the noises we have been hearing so far are encouraging.

Finally, a word to the Green Party, who remain dogmatically opposed to the Academy and ‘free school’ programmes. Take a look at the evidence of improvement, take a look at the investment that this is bringing into our City. It is shameful that you are actively working and campaigning to try and deny the opportunities that this will bring to some of the most disadvantaged children in our City.


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