School sponsor to increase funds for new academy

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THE NEW sponsor of Worthing’s planned 900-student academy has secured more than £16 million of funding to create an ‘outstanding’ school for the town.

Bohunt Education Trust (BET), which runs an outstanding-rated secondary school in Liphook, Hampshire, was confirmed as the sponsor for the new Broadwater academy, to be built by 2015.

It has secured £16.4 million of funding to build larger classrooms and specialist facilities, a dance studio and increased on-campus outdoor space.

BET chief executive Neil Strowger said: “We think it’s a really exciting opportunity to deliver innovative and outstanding education in Worthing.

“We have made some changes to the design. We think we have now got a really effective design to deliver curriculum that we think will bring success to students.”

Residents have expressed concerns about several aspects of the proposed school, including fears the Manor Sports Ground could be closed to the public.

As reported in the Herald last week, councillors also hoped consideration would be given to build a footbridge over the A24.

In response, Mr Strowger said: “I think the Manor Sports Ground will still be available for public use but we obviously want to make sure our young people get a safe and quality provision.

“I think we have a workable solution (on safety) but in the longer term, a footbridge would be ideal.”

Bohunt’s Liphook school achieved strong GCSE results this year, with a five A* to C including English and maths pass rate of 87 per cent.

It was placed in the top 20 non-selective state schools in the country. It is well-known for its innovation in IT and immersion language teaching, including Mandarin.

The trust lost out in the initial bidding process to local trust, the Durrington Multi Academy Trust, which pulled out in June, over budgetary and site concerns.

Planning permission to construct the 900-student school is due to be recommended for approval by the county council planning committee on Tuesday.