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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 July 2005, 18:42 GMT 19:42 UK
City to vote on 20m academy plan
Proposals to develop a 20m "super-school" in Newcastle are due to be debated by city councillors at a special meeting on Friday.

They are being recommended to back proposals for a city academy to replace West Gate Community College.

They will also be asked to approve locating the school next to John Marley Centre, on Norland Road, Scotswood.

If the development goes ahead it would be expected to open by September 2008, a target set by the DfES.

Site concerns

The academy in the west end of the city has proved controversial because it will be partly privately financed.

The union Unison has also expressed concern at the plans because of fears about private investment in education.

Three sites have been shortlisted for the new academy - the existing Westgate college site, land south of Armstrong Road in Benwell, and the third site was land next to the John Marley Centre.

A decision was set to be made last week, however the DfES raised concerns about the current West Gate Community College site.

A spokeswoman for Newcastle Council said the concern was that replacing the West Gate Community College site would mean demolishing the old school, and building work would not meet the DfES's tight deadline.

Extensive consultation was carried out in relation to the proposals and the results of this will be reported to the Executive at the meeting.

The city academy proposals are linked to a 200m development of secondary schools across the city, which is to be funded by the government's Building Schools for the Future programme.


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