School bids for specialist status

By Sharon AsplinA SECONDARY school in Colchester is the latest in the town to apply for specialist status to secure extra funding for its pupils.Stanway School wants to apply in March to become a humanities specialist school from September.

By Sharon Asplin

A SECONDARY school in Colchester is the latest in the town to apply for specialist status to secure extra funding for its pupils.

Stanway School wants to apply in March to become a humanities specialist school from September.

If the Department for Education and Skills approves the plan, the school will receive a one-off grant of £100,000 and an annual payment of £123 per pupil, resulting in an extra £100,000 a year for four years.

But to be considered for specialist status, Stanway School must come up with at least £50,000 of unconditional private sector sponsorship.

Senior tutor, Jan Henson, said: “This status would help us enhance the already exciting plans we have to improve our facilities and help make us a centre for the community.”

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The £100,000 capital grant will be used to redevelop the school. Plans for a new library/learning resource centre are already under way and the specialist status money would enable these to be more ambitious.

The sponsorship money that the school is required to find will be used to provide state-of-the-art computer equipment in the new extension.

This could also be used for the outreach work that headteacher, Johnathan Tippett, plans to develop in the surrounding villages.

Under the specialist status plan, the lead subject at the school will be English and the two other identified subjects will be geography and history.

But in a newsletter to parents, Mr Tippett stressed the main aims of the specialist schools programme were to raise the standards of all 850 pupils, strengthen and develop the quality of teaching and learning and forge stronger links with business, other education establishments and the community.

The Friends of Stanway School, who will administer the foundation responsible for the money, have already donated £7,500 to get the ball rolling and the school is now appealing to parents, businesses and the community for support.

Earlier this year Stanway School's controversial scheme to sell its playing fields to fund refurbishments received the go-ahead on appeal.

The 17-acre playing fields, which stand on a separate plot from the school site, could fetch more than £7million if sold with permission for the construction of houses.

Objections were made by many residents who did not want to lose the open space and feared additional traffic would cause gridlock.

n Anyone who wishes to help the school raise money should contact 01206 575488.

sharon.asplin@eadt.co.uk

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