PLAN TO MERGE SCHOOLS INTO A £24M ACADEMY

Wednesday April4 - A SLEAFORD academy could be created through the formal merger of three local schools.

The plan for an academy school in Sleaford could take shape within as little as two years and may pave the way for total reconstruction at one school site in the area.

The project is in its infancy at the moment after the Department For Education and Skills carried out visits and recommended the County Council apply to bring together St George's College in Sleaford, Aveland High School at Billingborough and the Lafford High School of Billinghay as one, split-site academy.

The council's executive have now agreed in principle to bid for up to 24m to develop the academy, with financial support from private individuals and companies.

Coteland's School, Ruskington could also opt to become part of the academy.

In 2005, Paul Watson, Principal at St George's was appointed executive Principal of Lafford as part of a federation and last year a partnership was also created with the Aveland.

Mr Watson revealed that, if plans go ahead, the Aveland School would be rebuilt as a hub for education, health services and nursery education for children aged 0-14 years and their families.

Children would have the option to stay on until the age of 16 or they could go to St George's which would provide education for children from year 6 to sixth form.

The Lafford School would be refurbished and specialise in helping with issues such as dyslexia.

An excited Mr Watson said parents would be consulted: "The academy would not select by ability as that is not what academies are about. With the money invested, it would provide first class education developed across all the schools."

More money would be spent on each child and they would be able to access a fantastic range of facilities.

David Veal, headteacher at Coteland's School is leaving at the end of the summer term. He said the school is still looking at the possibilities.