New Anglican/Catholic academy for the West Country

A turf cutting ceremony has been held at the site of a new ecumenical Academy in Cheltenham.

All Saints’ Academy will replace Christ College which is due to close on 31 August 2011 and will specialise in science, sport and religious education. It is sponsored by the Anglican Diocese of Gloucester and the  Catholic Diocese of Clifton.

The Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Reverend Michael Perham and Bishop Declan, led a ceremony to bless the beginning of construction work on the new academy. They were joined by Gloucestershire County Councillor Jackie Hall, Cabinet Member for Schools and county and borough councillors.  Representatives from the contractor Skanska were present and guests included architects and engineers who have worked on the project designs.

Bishop Michael said: “The planning stages in relation to All Saints’ Academy have been exciting and very carefully planned. We move now into a new phase with the turf cutting for the prestigious new building. It marks a really important milestone in the development of the academy. We are realising the sponsors’ vision to build a first class educational facility in Cheltenham. It is a sign that the Church is investing in the futures of young people and the community. We are delighted to be working with a team of people that share in our enthusiasm.”

Bishop Declan said: “The start of the construction of All Saints’ Academy is a wonderful example of the Anglican and Catholic dioceses working together, in collaboration with the county and borough councils and with the local community, for the good of everyone. All Saints’, housed in wonderful facilities, should become an inspiration for the whole community in Cheltenham when it opens next year.”

County Councillor Jackie Hall, Cabinet Member for Schools said: “I am so pleased to be involved in this new and exciting project, which the County Council has been working on for some time.”

Councillor Suzanne Williams, County Councillor for Springbank said: “This is an exciting opportunity for all the children in Cheltenham, but even more so for the children in Springbank and their families.”

All Saints’ Academy will specialise in science, sport and religious education.  It will open on 1 September 2011, replacing Christ College, which will close on 31 August 2011. It will have places for 1150 students aged 11 to 19 and a 250 place sixth form which will offer academic and vocational courses for 16 to 19 year-olds.

The academy will have a multiuse, all weather, synthetic sports pitch, a fitness suite and a chapel. Many of the academy’s facilities will be available for use by the community outside of school hours. All Saints’ will also support community regeneration and the local economy, with the contractor providing 10 apprenticeships.

Skanska Senior Project Manager John Brennan said: “The turf cutting ceremony marks an important milestone in making the innovative, imaginative design for the new All Saints’ Academy a reality. We are proud to be able to help create a first-class learning environment for young people in this part of Cheltenham and provide excellent facilities for the wider community.

Source: Clifton Diocese

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