‘Intensive’ training before £14m move

Principal Colin Simkins

Principal Colin Simkins

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Teachers and staff at Aspire Academy will undergo ‘intensive’ health and safety training ahead of the school’s big move early next month.

Students will be given an extra three days off from Monday, November 2 to Wednesday, November 4, as staff get to grips with the school’s new £14m facility in Blackpool Old Road, Blackpool which is run by the Fylde Coast Academy Trust.

This is a once in a lifetime process which we must all get right

Principal Colin Simkins called for parents to be patient and said: “The school will be open on Tuesday and Wednesday but these days will be used as part of an intensive training package and familiarisation process prior to students entering the new building.

“This is an essential part of the health and safety regulation governing FCAT’s occupation of a new school site and buildings, some of which we will share with Highfurlong Special School.

“This is a once in a lifetime process which we must all get right.”

Around 500 students will attend their new school for the first time on Thursday, November 5.

Pupils from Highfurlong Special School will also relocate into their new buildings on the shared site.

John Topping, deputy principal of Aspire Academy, said: “It is exciting to walk round the new school buildings and see the space and the opportunities the children are going to have.”

The school was built following the demolition of the former Collegiate School.

It was merged with Bispham High School, and renamed Aspire Academy, complete with a new school uniform.

Classes from both schools have been integrated with each other for two years in readiness for the changes.

Facilities at the new site will include more than a dozen specialist classrooms, including five technology rooms, a purpose-built dance studio, and science labs, as well as a speciallybuilt hydrotherapy room for Highfurlong.

However, the history of the previous establishments was preserved after stained glass panels from the original Blackpool Grammar School were fitted into the new school building.