New secondary school site revealed - as opening is delayed by one year

Brighton General Hospital (Photograph: {http://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/36675|Paul Gillett}/Creative Commons Licence))
Brighton General Hospital (Photograph: {http://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/36675|Paul Gillett}/Creative Commons Licence))

A new secondary free school run by a University of Brighton academy trust will be located at the Brighton General Hospital site.

But the delay in confirming a site for the school means it will now open in September 2019, one year later than initially hoped.

The news was revealed today (June 29), in a joint statement by Brighton and Hove City Council and the University of Brighton Academies Trust.

The statement said the Elm Grove school will be called 'The Brighton and Hove Academy'.

Brighton and Hove City Council said its forecast of pupil numbers show that there will be enough secondary school places across the city in September 2018 for all pupils applying.

Councillor Daniel Chapman, chairman of the council's children, young people and skills committee, said: “Councils are no longer able to open new schools themselves. We are therefore working in close partnership with the ESFA and the University of Brighton Academies Trust.

“We had hoped that the new school would be open in September 2018 but because of circumstances beyond our control this has been pushed back.

“I understand the high level of interest locally in this issue, and am pleased that the three partners have unanimously chosen their preferred site.

“I would emphasise that our pupil projections show that there will still be enough secondary school places across the city in September 2018 for all pupils applying.

“We recognise that parents need clarity on admissions arrangements for the future so we will be making an announcement at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Dr John Smith, interim chief executive of the University of Brighton Academies Trust, said: “We believe that the Brighton General Hospital site will provide an ideal location for The Brighton and Hove Academy. We appreciate the efforts that have been made by our colleagues leading the negotiations to secure the site.

“As these discussions have taken longer than anticipated, we regret that it is no longer feasible to open the academy for September 2018. Our focus is on providing an inspiring new secondary school offering an excellent education for the young people of Brighton and Hove. Now that the preferred site has been agreed, we will work closely with Brighton and Hove City Council and the Education and Skills Funding Agency to agree a new opening date.”

Mike Jennings, deputy CEO of Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are working closely with colleagues within the council, with University of Brighton Academies Trust and the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

“As the main provider of community health services in Brighton and Hove we are absolutely committed to retaining and enhancing local community health services within East Brighton and we are working on a project to establish these in a new, modern, flexible facility so that we can continue to meet local healthcare need. Within this project we are working with partners to explore the inclusion of a secondary school on site.

“We have carried out an initial options appraisal and we are working at pace to prove the viability of the project and conclude a business case for changes at Brighton General by next spring.”

The other site which was in the running to house the new school was City College's campus in Pelham Street, Brighton.