Page last updated at 13:13 GMT, Wednesday, 5 November 2008

School plans backed by government

Plans to reorganise secondary schools in Stoke-on-Trent have been approved by the government, the city council said.

The plans include cutting the number of high schools from 17 to 13 with eight schools merging into five academies.

Schools Minister Jim Knight has confirmed approval for the first stage of the council's 250m Building Schools for the Future programme, it said.

But a spokesman said three more stages would need government approval. Protests have been held over the plans.

It was hoped proposals would be implemented between next year and 2014.

The plan has been drawn up for a number of reasons, including falling pupil numbers and the poor condition of older school buildings.

Close completely

The council said under the 250m scheme 13 secondary schools in the city would be "rebuilt or refurbished, including five brand new, sponsored academies".

St Peter's, Mitchell, Berry Hill, James Brindley, Edensor, Trentham, Blurton and Brownhills would merge into five academies under the plans.

Longton has been due to close completely in 2009.

Trentham and Blurton would close under the proposals and become one academy at a site yet to be decided in the Trentham and Blurton area.

Mitchell, Berry Hill and Edensor would shut and be replaced by a new academy at Park Hall.

Brownhills would be rebuilt at the site and become an academy, while the same would apply to James Brindley.

St Peter's would go to a new site and become an academy.

Elected mayor Mark Meredith said: "I am delighted that the government have agreed our ambitious plans to fundamentally transform the quality of education in Stoke-on-Trent."

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