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Brighton Academy has 33% of places unfilled
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A third of classrooms at an academy remain unused more than a year after it opened.
Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA) – previously Falmer High School – remains 33% undersubscribed, chair of governors Peter Kyle said.
It currently has 633 students – 60 fewer students than Falmer had in its final year before the £26m cash injection – for its 1,000 places.
Mr Kyle has now written to Brighton and Hove City Council executive Penny Thompson blaming the local authority for the lack of pupils.
The pair are set to meet to discuss the issue.
Mr Kyle said that while he appreciated that the council might not “necessarily agree” with the idea of academies, it had a duty to help local children.
He added that the current situation was “[damaging] the prospects of Brighton’s young people”.
In an open letter he said that the “waste” of classroom space was “deeply frustrating” and suggested that “council decisions” were preventing a “level playing field”.
He said there were a number of ways the academy was being let down, including poor transport links by bus and by road.
He said: “Immediately prior to the academy opening in 2010 the bus route used by students serving the Falmer site was axed by the council on financial grounds, despite being popular and well-used by students.
“Two other routes taking students from BACA’s catchment area to other schools further afield remain in service however.
“Parents attending open evenings have cited this as a deterrent to their children taking up places at the academy.
“Numerous discussions with council officers have resulted in promises of action which have never been followed through.”
Mr Kyle also said that the academy suffered because its catchment area was too small.
A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: “We want all the city’s schools to provide a first class education for our children and young people.
“Our new chief executive and interim director of children’s services have offered to meet BACA’s governors to discuss a range of issues, including those raised in their recent letter to |us.
“We hope this meeting will take place within the next two weeks.”
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