Pupil issues warning over new school bid

A defiant Holywells High student at today claimed the school was being forced to become an academy to get a new �30 million building.

IPSWICH: A defiant Holywells High student at today claimed the school was being forced to become an academy to get a new �30 million building.

James Ager, 17, said the proposed state-of-the-art campus on the edge of Ravenswood would depend on the school becoming an academy next September, under the management of Swedish company Kunskapsskolan.

James, co-founder of the Holywells SOS (Save Our School) campaign, said: “A new building would be lovely but it is not worth becoming an academy and putting teachers' jobs at risk just to get a new school.”

The shock proposal, revealed this week in The Evening Star, could see Holywells move to a new site near Gainsborough Sports Centre in 2014.

The scheme would be funded by the government's Building Schools for the Future plan, which is also backing a new high school in Felixstowe.

James, a Year 13 student at the school, said: “If we need a new building, we should get one, regardless of becoming an academy.

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“A new building isn't going to solve the problems the school has or change its intake.”

There are rumours the existing Holywells site could be sold off and developed for social housing if the scheme is approved.

Exhibitions of the plans are being held at the Gainsborough Sports Centre on Saturday, December 5 between 10am and noon and Wednesday, December 9 between 5pm and 8pm.

A page on social networking site Facebook created by campaigners to fight the academy plans is encouraging students to get their views known.

James said: “Students haven't had much consultation on this at all.

“It is really important we have our say as we are the ones who are going to this new school.”

In a joint statement, Graham Newman, portfolio holder for Children and Young People at Suffolk County Council and Cecelia Davies, chairman of governors at Holywells High, said they were working together to raise levels of achievement at the school.

They said: “We are excited about the opportunities presented by working with an experienced education partner that will come with a fresh pair of eyes and fresh ideas.

“The proposed new school is an exciting opportunity which will significantly improve opportunities for young people attending the school as well as the wider school community“.