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Charitable trust set to run £4m academy at former Townsend Primary site
A CHARITABLE trust which runs two schools in Oxfordshire looks set to run a new Townsend Primary school.
The Aspirations Academies Trust is being recommended to councillors as the best sponsor for a £4million academy.
It looks set to be chosen over an alternative bid which involved a Poole company.
Bournemouth council wants a new school on the site of the former Townsend Primary to take 60 reception pupils in September 2013.
No local schools or religious groups came forward to sponsor the proposed academy.
Neil Goddard, service director for community learning at the council, said: “The Aspirations Academies Trust’s proposal for the new primary school is exciting and clearly shows how they will work closely with the local community and provide excellent opportunities for local children, ensuring that they can reach their fullest potential.
“We were very impressed with their attitude and school ethos.”
The trust already runs the Banbury Academy secondary school and Dashwood Banbury Academy primary.
It looks set to win out over a partnership involving the Place Group, Bellvue Education and Poole-based School Business Services.
Strouden Park councillor Michael Weinhonig praised both bids but said his preference had been for the trust.
He said: “I personally am very excited by the opportunity that this proposal brings.”
He said the trust’s bid was “in line with a forward-looking council like Bournemouth”.
He said he had been impressed by the trust’s ethos in areas such as behaviour and individual development. “They were challenging young people to become better people themselves,” he said.
A £4.15million grant to refurbish and extend the existing Townsend buildings is already in place. Government policies say councils proposing new schools must first look at making them academies or free schools.
A report to Bournemouth council’s cabinet on Tuesday, November 20, will represent putting the trust’s name forward to education secretary Michael Gove, who will make the final decision.
After controversially closing the original Townsend School in 2008, Bournemouth experienced a baby boom which led to a lack of primary school places.
There had been hopes that the Bishop of Winchester Academy would sponsor the school, but its governors decided against the idea.