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Last Updated: Friday, 4 July, 2003, 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK
Firm to sponsor new school
The Channel School, Folkestone
The existing Channel School could be bulldozed and replaced
Education chiefs have unveiled ambitious plans to transform a failing school with the help of business sponsorship.

The Folkestone-based Saga Group has agreed to pump 2m into a project to rebuild the town's Channel School.

If successful, the secondary school - which has been placed in special measures by Ofsted - will be bulldozed and turned into a specialist academy for arts and foreign languages.

Kent County Council will put an additional 20m into the project for Folkestone and a similar transformation at Ramsgate School.

It's very much in Saga's interest to support and do the utmost it can to make the local schools successful
Roger De Haan, chairman of Saga

Saga's chairman Roger De Haan said: "I'm very interested in the community in which I've lived for the whole of my life.

"But I also think it's very much in Saga's interest to support and do the utmost it can to make the local schools successful.

"We have in Folkestone 2,500 employees, most of whom live in the area and send their children to the schools in the area."

Mr De Haan said a new Ramsgate school was also welcome because of the 600 staff who would work at Saga's new offices there.

Well trained and motivated

The firm, which provides leisure, financial and holiday services for the over-50s, already gives grants of about 1m a year to local organisations.

Kent County Council's education director Graham Badman said support for schools kept Saga's current workforce happy and ensured future employees were well trained and motivated.

He said: "I'm very optimistic we can provide high quality education which will be valuable for young people, for their parents and also attract other employers to the area."

If the plans are approved by the council, Folkestone's new school could be ready by 2006.

New specialist schools unveiled
10 Feb 03  |  Education
Pressure on specialist schools
30 Jul 02  |  World at One

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