Blackpool Council names site for merged academy

Blackpool Council has named its preferred site for a new academy formed by the merger of two secondary schools.

Blackpool Collegiate High School and Bispham High School in Blackpool will form a new school in January 2014, on the collegiate site.

The decision follows a six week public consultation by the council.

However the decision still has to be ratified by the governing bodies who will meet after Easter to consider the results of the consultation.

The new site will open in 2015, with the council looking for new uses for the Bispham site.

Academies are independent, state-funded schools, which receive their funding directly from central government, rather than through a local authority.

'Funding gap'

Councillor Sarah Riding, cabinet member for education and schools in the Labour-led council said: "Siting the proposed merged academy at Bispham would require in the region of £6m to bring the buildings up to an acceptable standard which, unfortunately, is money we just don't have.

"As part of the council's extensive efforts to explore every possible option we've gone back to government to ask if funding could be available for this site instead. We have been informed that will not be possible.

"We have been granted £10m for a new school at Collegiate which will give pupils brand new facilities in which to learn and develop."

The council could not spend any government money on refurbishing an existing school and it had to be spent on a new academy, a spokesman explained.

Blackpool Collegiate was formed in the 1970s by the merger of Blackpool Grammar School for boys with Collegiate Girls Grammar.

Bispham was formerly known as Greenlands High School for girls after Arnold High girls grammar amalgamated with Claremont girls secondary modern in 1975.

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