Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Speak out on Academies; Parents Get Chance to Have Their Say

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Speak out on Academies; Parents Get Chance to Have Their Say

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul James Chief Reporter

PARENTS are being offered the chance to have their say on controversial plans to create three new academy schools in County Durham.

The county council is proposing to create the academies in Stanley, Consett and Durham City and yesterday began a major consultation programme that will run until Friday, March 20.

The three new academies would follow those already created or approved for Newcastle, Sunderland, Northumberland and Middlesbrough - which have all attracted similar opposition.

Teachers' unions have opposed the creation of academies since they were announced by the Government in 2000, arguing against the involvement and potential influence of their private sponsors who invest pounds 2m in the schools.

Sites for each proposed academy have yet to be identified but it is anticipated they would open in September 2012.

An academy for the Durham City area would have 1,200 places for pupils aged 11-16 and would replace Belmont School Community Arts College and Durham Gilesgate Sports College, although sixth form provision in Durham City would remain.

The proposed academy for the Stanley area would have 1,800 places for pupils aged 11-16 and would replace Stanley School of Technology, Greencroft Business and Enterprise Community School and Tanfield School Specialist College of Science and Engineering.

In Consett the proposed academy would have 1,500 places for pupils aged 11-16 and would replace Moorside Community Technology College and Consett Community Sports College.

Claire Vasey, council cabinet member for Children and Young People's Services, said: "As we move forward with our proposals for academies, it is vital that we have the views of people in the communities concerned, so I would encourage all those with an interest to take part in the consultation process. …

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