New buildings to grow their own businesses

10th February 2006 at 00:00
Small businesses will be set up at an academy as part of a plan to give pupils first-hand experience of industry.

The proposal forms part of a blueprint for the new pound;25m Marlowe academy, Kent, which took over the struggling Ramsgate school in September last year. Business units will be built into the school and rented out to local firms, providing extra cash for the school and creating a "curriculum resource, links to the local economy and a range of specialist expertise"

for pupils.

Similar plans were mooted as part of the proposals for Djanogly academy, Nottingham, which replaced a successful city technology college in 2003. In its supporting documents, the school says it hopes eventually to create a web development company to "design, create and manage websites" for local small businesses. The proposals reflect some of the innovative tactics being employed by academies.

Ian Johnson, principal of Marlowe, whose new buildings are expected to be open in September this year, accommodating 1,100 pupils, said: "In terms of facilities for the school and community it'll be second to none.

"At the moment many pupils are voting with their feet, and going to schools elsewhere, but with facilities like this we will be creating an exciting local comprehensive for local teenagers. There will be no admissions on aptitude or ability."

Academies can deviate from the national curriculum, although every funding agreement seen by The TES indicates that they will continue to teach the core subjects up to the age of 16. Vocational courses appear to play a heavy emphasis at most schools, with extensive links with local businesses and industry.

It includes plans outlined by Harefield academy, Hillingdon, London, which specialises in sport, to link up to Watford football club's youth academy.

Other academies emphasise that more academic courses will be offered for pupils who need to be pushed, even looking beyond traditional GCSEs.

At least three schools indicate in their funding agreements that they will consider offering the international baccalaureate to their pupils.

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