Page last updated at 13:42 GMT, Thursday, 12 March 2009

Academy plan clears major hurdle

Plans to merge two Taunton schools and create a new academy have been approved by the schools minister Jim Knight.

Pupils at Ladymead Community School and St Augustine's of Canterbury School will be offered places at the new academy, due to open in September 2010.

Government approval means the scheme now moves into a feasibility stage.

The academy, sponsored by the Diocese of Bath and Wells and supported by Somerset County Council, will specialise in science.

Councillor Gloria Cawood, from Somerset County Council, said: "We're going to look at [whether] it's a good idea, what do people think about it, what are the challenges?

"And we are going to work closely with the Diocese of Bath and Wells who are the lead sponsors to see if it's possible."

'Spiritual bias'

Caz Salter, who has a daughter in Year 10 at St Augustine's, said: "I think it's a good idea, I just wish my daughter will get the benefit out of it.

"They've got so much going for them, the technology and everything.

"My daughter's going to miss out on that because she's leaving next year, for the youngsters coming up, it's going to be fantastic for the area."

St Augustine's is a Roman Catholic school, Ladymead is non-denominational, but the new academy would have Church of England status.

Mark Holland, chairman of Somerset Association of School Governors, said: "There may be reservations, but there's no reason why religiously active communities shouldn't integrate perfectly normally with more secular communities.

"Although it may have a spiritual bias, that will only be reflected in some aspects of the school operations."

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County town gets academy school
01 Jun 08 |  Somerset

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