New term starts and new schools open for students in Plymouth
THE school bell is ringing for the start of term, with new schools opening across the city.
This month sees new facilities unveiled at the University Technical College in Devonport, Marine Academy Plymouth in St Budeaux, All Saints Academy in Pennycross and Riverside School in Barne Barton.
Plymouth School of Creative Arts, a new all-through free school, is set to open in Millbay, as well as Sparkwell All Saints Primary – a primary free school set up by a parent/community group – set to open in Sparkwell.
Councillor Nicky Williams, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "It's been yet another year of building to provide the best facilities for our young people. September sees the doors open on a huge variety of opportunities for our young people.
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"These projects have also created over 2,500 construction jobs – a huge boost for lots of families and to the local economy during difficult times."
The pioneering University Technical College is a state-of-the-art school specialising in marine engineering and advanced manufacturing in Devonport and is the South West's first University Technical College.
It will offer up to 650 young people, aged 14 to 19 years old, a dynamic and different learning experience in purpose-built facilities including 'super' workshops designed specifically to allow students to complete practical employer driven projects.
The school, on the former Parkside school site, will open to students on September 13.
Plymouth University – whose roots can be traced back to the original 19th century Plymouth and Devonport technical college – is the main sponsor and the council is co-sponsor.
In St Budeaux, Marine Academy Plymouth's new primary school, MAP2, will open on September 9.
MAP2 has been set up by the Marine Academy Trust and is sponsored by Plymouth University, Cornwall College and Plymouth City Council.
MAP2 is bridging the gap between Shining Stars Nursery and Marine Academy Plymouth, creating an all-through school.
Old 1930s buildings have been demolished and new extensions built alongside extensive refurbishment of the more modern buildings. The main sponsors are Plymouth University with Cornwall College and Plymouth City Council as a co-sponsor.
All Saints Academy Plymouth has received just over £11m through the Academies Programme and this involved the demolition of a 1960s secondary modern school building and 1970s extensions.
The project included a substantial new build extension to the existing 1980s buildings and extensive refurbishment.
New recreation areas for students have been created as a result of demolition and landscaping. The Church of England is the main sponsor with Marjons and Plymouth City Council co-sponsors.
Primary school children going back to class at Riverside School in Barne Barton will also see some significant changes, following a £2 million project to make more classroom space for more children.
The school has gone from a two-form entry school for 420 children to a three form entry school for 640 children.
There are also two free schools opening in the city.
Sparkwell All Saints Primary is a 105 place school for 4-11 year olds that has been set up by a parent/community group.
The school has strong support from the local community who see its opening as part of the village's regeneration. The local parish, village hall trust and Devon County Council have all provided land for the school. The school will have 20 Reception and four Year One pupils and will be led by the principal, Colin Doctor.
Meanwhile the Plymouth School of Creative Arts in Millbay will be a 1,020 place all-though (4-16) school. It has selected a site in Millbay, next to the Cargo building, for its new campus. The facility is expected to open in September 2014, subject to planning permission and final Government funding approval.
The school will open for its first year with Reception and Key Stage 1 pupils at the Cargo building, directly opposite the site of the new school, this month.
Dave Strudwick, principal of the Plymouth School of Creative Arts, said: "Our vision for Plymouth School of Creative Arts grows out of an established art college ethos: we are really excited to open a school centred on the arts and creativity.
"Our excitement is best illustrated by our new staff, parents and children stating that they can't wait for the summer holiday to end.
"This new school has already attracted national and international attention which is good for the school and also good for the city."