Academy aims to inspire...

STEVE DOWNES When schools introduce a Hogwarts-style house system, they often choose the names of local people, places or landmarks. But the sponsors of a controversial proposed academy in Norwich are breaking with tradition by plumping for words designed to inspire.

STEVE DOWNES

When schools introduce a Hogwarts-style house system, they often choose the names of local people, places or landmarks.

But the sponsors of a controversial proposed academy in Norwich are breaking with tradition by plumping for words designed to inspire.

If the £25m-plus Open Academy on the site of the existing Heartsease High gets the go-ahead, youngsters could be in the houses of hope, promise, purpose and dreams.

Co-sponsor Graham Dacre, a Christian businessman who is putting £1.95m of his own money into the scheme, said: “They are names to stimulate and uplift. It's great to have dreams, great to have purpose, great to have hope.

“They are all words that bring life. You can use local landmarks and various other things, but the use of these words sums up the vision for the academy.”

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The names, along with proposed designs for their branding and that of the Open Academy, are in version six of the draft education brief, which sets out the sponsors' vision for the project.

Tomorrow, Mr Dacre and his fellow sponsor the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, will be put on the spot at the third and final public meeting about the academy proposal.

The previous two meetings have been at times stormy affairs, with members of the public voicing fears that the sponsors' “Christian ethos” for the academy could see their faith imposed on students.

There have also been fears that pouring millions of pounds into one Norwich school could have a detrimental effect on its neighbours.

Mr Dacre and Bishop Graham have insisted that the academy will not be a “faith school”, and that pupils will be taught from the Norfolk agreed syllabus on religious education.

t The meeting is at 2pm (Thursday) at St Francis Church Hall, Ridder Haggard Road, Norwich.

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