PLANS for a new Accrington Academy, which would replace Moorhead Sports College and offer Sixth Form education, have been welcomed by 77 per cent of people who responded to a consultation survey.
And Lancashire County Council has now approved the closure of Moorhead, bringing the project a step closer to reality.
Under the proposals, the academy, specialising in maths and sport, would open in September this year, operating in the existing Queens Road West premises, with new and refurbished accommodation being available from September 2010.
It would feature state-of-the-art ICT equipment, a learning resource centre, a multi-purpose hall, drama and recording studios and sports facilities which would be available for use by the wider community.
The independent consultation took place from September to November last year and featured a series of public meetings, face to face interviews, focus groups and a questionnaire distributed to more than 1,200 parents, prosective parents and staff.
The greatest support for the academy came from prospective parents (96 per cent) and current parents (88 per cent).
Priorities were seen as improving GCSE results, maintaining the level of teaching staff, having a family atmosphere and having sports facilities.
The proposals for a 250-place Sixth Form received strong support, with co-operation with other schools and colleges in Accrington seen as crucial to its success.
Dame Jocelyn Barrow, who headed the consultation, said: “I am grateful to everyone who took the time to take part. The overall findings show the majority of stakeholders support the change of Moorhead to academy status and as such I am able to recommend the proposal to proceed.”
County Councillor Vali Patel, Cabinet member for schools, said: “I am delighted that there is such overwhelming support for an academy from parents and prospective parents, as this will be a key factor in its success.”
l The academy will be sponsored by the United Learning Trust (ULT), a registered charity which has many other academies in the North of England. It will be free to attend and will be open to students of all abilities and backgrounds, and of all faiths or none.
Final approval rests with the Secretary of State for Education.