Construction starts on Aspire Academy

Development work is set to start on the East Hull based Academy this week, catering specifically for vulnerable students with a wide range of needs including those at risk of exclusion.

Key partners are celebrating after reaching financial close on the £3.2m Aspire Academy, which has been driven forward by Andrew Chubb, principal of Archbishop Sentamu Academy.

The project, which is state-funded and is part of an Education Funding Agency programme independent of local authority control, received strong backing from Government ministers last year and Aspire Academy will be sponsored by the Diocese of York, which also sponsors Archbishop Sentamu. Hull City Council is playing a key role in the development process and is supporting the project through the provision of the land on Preston Road, East Hull.

Now, work will start on the site as developers Hull Esteem Consortium, the organisation responsible for developing Hull’s £400m Building Schools for the Future programme on behalf of Hull City Council, work towards handing over the keys to Aspire Academy in December 2014. Hull founded estates services provider Sewell Group will be delivering the construction of Aspire Academy.

Aspire Academy will initially launch with a small number of pupils from Years 8 and 9. It will have its own Head Teacher and staff, separate from Archbishop Sentamu Academy, and will eventually cater for 150 young people who are vulnerable and at risk. It is then expected the local authority will commission places for pupils from other schools.

The new academy is expected to have a highly innovative curriculum and will draw on the outstanding expertise available from within Archbishop Sentamu Academy. It is one of 16 alternative provision academy free schools, which were approved by the Government in its latest tranche of proposals.

Mr Chubb said: “I am delighted that the development of Aspire has started on time. Once we open in our specialist facilities, pupils will have fantastic opportunities to turn around their performance and reach their full potential.”

Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council, said: “The city council, as champion of children and young people, wants to ensure the best range of provision is available in the city, particularly for vulnerable youngsters. In agreeing the land transfer, the city council also recognises the academy will represent an important redevelopment and regeneration opportunity in the community.”

Steve Gibson, Construction Director at Sewell Group, said: “The government is constantly looking for education standards to be improved, for schools to be built faster and delivered on tighter budgets; the bar is constantly being raised. Aspire is another example, in times of austerity, where public and private sector partners have come together to unlock and deliver a challenging project, as we did with the first PFI school in the UK at Victoria Dock and with the Building Schools for the Future Programme. Hull is leading the way again with its education estate; it’s another positive step for the city. Sewell, working with our local supply chain, will now ensure the school is built and the Academy is up and running before the end of the year, as always with consideration for our neighbours and local communities.”

Sam Whitaker, Chief Executive of Hull Esteem Consortium, said: “We are delighted to be developing this innovative new free school, which will provide specialist support for students who need, and quite rightly deserve, a carefully designed environment that they can thrive in. Our vast experience of developing both mainstream schools and schools that cater for students with Special Educational Needs ensures Esteem is best placed to develop Aspire Academy to the highest standard possible. Ultimately, we will work closely with Andrew Chubb and his team to create an educational establishment that inspires young people to fulfil their potential.”