Final year for resort school as pupils move

Acting heateacher at Collegiate High School, on Blackpool Old Road, John Topping with Carillion site manager Mike Gleaves (left)
Acting heateacher at Collegiate High School, on Blackpool Old Road, John Topping with Carillion site manager Mike Gleaves (left)
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A Blackpool high school’s current cohort of pupils will be the last to use its decades-old buildings, education bosses have announced.

Year 10 pupils at Collegiate have been told they will move to Bispham High School in September.

This is a change to the original plan for them to remain at Collegiate’s Blackpool Old Road site in temporary classrooms while a new school is built.

The announcement means the Year 10 pupils will study for their GCSEs at Bispham, joining other Collegiate pupils who have already moved across.

The two schools are to merge and eventually move into new £14m facilities on the Collegiate site in 2015.

The new school will be known as Aspire Academy.

Collegiate’s 52-year-old buildings will be used until the end of this academic year before being demolished.

It is hoped moving the Year 10 pupils will cause less disruption to studies than staying at the Collegiate site.

However, the move will not see Collegiate and Bispham Year 11s in the same classes.

In a letter to parents Bispham High’s executive headteacher Tony Nicholson said: “The opportunities for specialist teaching are far greater on a single site and therefore provide the best chance of examination success.”

The move has been discussed with pupils who reportedly raised concerns about the building site at Collegiate and also about transport, uniform, integration and continuity of learning upon the move to Bispham.

And some parents said they had concerns about pupils moving to Bispham and queried the “fairness” of transferring the children into a school which has been labelled as “inadequate” by government inspectors.

Bispham was last year placed under ‘special measures’ meaning it is under constant review by education watchdog Ofsted.

One grandmother of a Year 10 pupil at Collegiate, said: “I was shocked to receive a letter informing ‘the best interests of Year 10 students are served by a move to the Bispham site for their final year’. Really?

“Do these leaders believe uprooting pupils from Collegiate at such an important time by forcing them into a chaotic environment at Bispham won’t have a detrimental effect?”

However, bosses at the two schools have moved to allay fears.

Mr Nicholson added: “We have written to parents to keep them informed about the programme for moving Year 10 pupils currently learning at the existing Collegiate site to the Bispham site. Everyone at Bispham and Collegiate is working extremely hard to ensure high quality education for all pupils.”

Developers Carillion moved on to the Collegiate site on Friday ready to create the £10m Aspire Academy and £4m upgrade to neighbouring Highfurlong Special School.

The two schools, with 900 youngsters at the secondary school and 50 at the special school, will share a reception area and will open up some of the facilities for use by the surrounding community too.

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