October 9, 2008
‘Seize This Academy Chance for Our Pupils’
By LIAM MURPHY
PLANS to open a new pounds 30m academy in Birkenhead will be put to Wirral Council's ruling cabinet this week, following the recommendation of a Government report.
The new superschool will serve communities in south and central Birkenhead and educate current and future Rock Ferry High School and Park High School students.
A site for the new school, which would offer educational facilities to rival the top schools in the country, has yet to be decided but will be well placed for both sets of pupils.
The council and the Government are also committed to improving the quality of secondary school provision for pupils in north Birkenhead.
Last year, the fee-paying Birkenhead High School for girls announced it planned to become the country's first academy offering education for girls from three to 18, and thereby eliminating any fees.
Wirral's Cabinet will meet on November 6 to discuss the latest proposal, following which there will be a period of consultation with key stakeholders.
Park High headteacher Steve McMahon, said: "This is the very best news for students and the wider community of Birkenhead, Wirral and beyond. Our school has a long and proud tradition and, in recent years, we have been increasingly successful.
"I see the Academy proposal as a fantastic reward for all our hard work and achievements and, through this move, Birkenhead would secure one of the very best schools in the country."
Peter Bennett, headteacher of Rock Ferry High School, said: "Under these proposals, Rock Ferry High School pupils will continue to enjoy a first-rate education. The size of the investment will offer incredible opportunities, both to pupils and to staff. Only the best is good enough for the pupils of Rock Ferry High School.
"The new superschool would be second to none. It would offer the finest facilities available in the country and the best possible educational opportunities. I believe the proposal is richly deserved by our pupils and would transform education in Birkenhead."
Frank Field, MP for Birkenhead, said: "It's the most exciting proposal that has come Birkenhead's way in my 30 years as MP.
"Future generations will condemn us rightly if we don't grab these proposals with both hands, and I'm pleased the council have already begun to develop them."
Cllr Phil Davies, cabinet member for children's services and lifelong learning, added: "We hope it will drive up aspirations, standards and achievement, setting the benchmark for what can be achieved in urban communities."
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