The following is a joint statement from Brighton & Hove City Council and the University of Brighton Academies Trust
We can now confirm that the Brighton General Hospital site is the preferred site for the city’s new secondary school, to be called The Brighton and Hove Academy.
Since confirmation of the opening of the new University of Brighton Academies Trust school the council has been working with the Education and Skills Funding Agency to identify and secure a site within the city.
The council is now in detailed dialogue with the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust about how their plans for the site can include the new secondary school building.
The proposal is an exciting opportunity that all stakeholders agree would be a great outcome for the city.
Unfortunately, despite every effort, it has not been possible to secure the relevant agreements in time for the ESFA to proceed with the opening of The Brighton and Hove Academy in September 2018.
All parties are now working towards an opening date of September 2019 and greater certainty on this will be given in summer 2018.
The council’s forecasts for pupil numbers show that there will be enough secondary school places across the city in September 2018 for all pupils applying.
Councillor Daniel Chapman 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 & Hove. Now that the preferred site has been agreed, we will work closely with Brighton & 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 roject 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.”