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New school set to change pupils’ lives

Worcester Editorial 26th Mar, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

THE HEADTEACHER of a new free school which is due to open in Worcester later this year believes it will help students to change their lives.

The Aspire Academy, which has been backed by 13 schools and colleges across south Worcestershire, will take on children aged between 11 and 16 who are struggling to cope with mainstream education.

Plans have now been submitted to Worcester City Council to transform Century House in Warndon, which is currently used by Siemens, into the school’s base.

Once it has been approved, building work will then begin to get the academy, which will cater for up to 120 dual registered students, ready for its opening in September.

And Sue Pennington, who was appointed headteacher in January, said she was looking forward to moving into the building on Bridgwater Road as she believed the school would make an “astronomical” impact to children in Worcester.

“I am extremely excited about this which is why I have come all the way down from St Helen’s to take up this post,” she said.

“You don’t often get the opportunity to start something like this from scratch and I believe this type of education provision should be available for every child across the country.”

Places will be offered to pupils who they fear will be risk of exclusion, but Mrs Pennington insisted it was not a school for “naughty children”.

“It is an alternative provision free school, which has actually been set up to ensure that every child in Worcester has access to an appropriate education for their needs,” she said.

“There might be a situation where a child is extremely introverted and when there are 1,500 pupils in the schools that can be very daunting for them, so if we have an environment where there are only 120 full time equivalent places then we are able to offer class size with no more than ten.”

As well as a core curriculum, which will include Maths, English, Science and IT. the academy will also offer vocational subjects where they will benefit from the academy’s partnership with Worcester Warriors Rugby Club.

Mrs Pennington added: “The import thing to recognise is that this is an opportunity  to actually to combine academic rigour with emotional and social support as we will have various therapeutic interventions such as art therapy and play therapy.

“We will also be able to offer a more holistic approach around the family which is very important to us as they will be involved in any support and help we give their child.”

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