Portland academy school: Delays causing 'financial pressures'

Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy
Image caption The academy, for four to 19-year-olds, opened in September 2012

A Dorset academy school is under "significant financial pressure" because of delays moving to a new site, its governors have warned.

Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy (IPACA) is based across three sites but is expected to move to a new £25m facility in September.

The school blamed its financial problems on duplicated costs from working on multiple sites.

It has also announced 21 redundancies as part of a restructuring programme.

The academy, for four to 19-year-olds, amalgamated five of Portland's schools when it opened in September 2012.

Its move to Maritime House - a refurbished MoD building at Southwell Business Park - was delayed when planning permission, which was granted on appeal in April 2014, was initially refused.

Image caption Planning permission for the new site was initially refused

A governors' report revealed "higher than expected maintenance costs" at the existing sites.

The redundancies, equating to 15 full-time members of staff, are part of a restructuring programme to save 10% of IPACA's 2016/17 income.

The school said it had a "five-year plan" to ensure it was "financially sustainable".

Since September 2013, 75 members of staff have left, with 68 joining.

Parent Hannah Barnwell said: "I don't think they are delivering at the moment. I'd like to know how they are going to cope and look after my children with less staff."

Principal Joss Hayes admitted the school "needed to improve".

She said: "The current organisation was not fit for purpose. It was grounded in a historical structure which did not meet the needs of the academy."

The Education Funding Agency said it had not issued a "financial notice to improve" and added: "All academies operate under a strict system of oversight and accountability - more robust than in council-run schools - ensuring any issues are identified quickly and we can take swift action."

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