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Issue:- 22 July 2009

New education proposal for Edge Lane

LIVERPOOL City Council has revealed plans to build a bright future for the city’s Church of England secondary schools.  The Governors of Archbishop Blanch High School and St. Hilda’s Church of England School have been asked to consider a radical new proposal to co-locate the 2 schools at the Innovation Park on Edge Lane.

The hi-tech £45m scheme, part of the city’s Building Schools, Skills, Success programme, will place the schools at the heart of the city’s science and technology industry. It gives them the opportunity to work in partnership with more than 40 local businesses to enrich the curriculum and open up a wealth of vocational opportunities for young people.  The new proposals would replace the council’s original plans to co-locate Archbishop Blanch and St Margaret’s at the site.  If approved, St Hilda’s, currently an all-girls school, would become fully co-educational upon moving to the Edge Lane site in 2014. Existing pupils at the school would not be affected by the changes.  St Margaret’s would no longer move to Edge Lane, but would be redeveloped on its existing site.

Currently, Liverpool has 2 all-girls Church of England Schools (St Hilda’s and Archbishop Blanch) and one all-boys Church of England School (St Margaret’s). The new proposals would give parents a more balanced choice, because the city would have one all-boys, one all-girls and one mixed Church of England School.

The city council’s executive member for education, Councillor Keith Turner, said:- “Building Schools, Skills, Success is a once in a generation opportunity for Liverpool and it’s vital we get it right. We want schools involved in the decisions at every step of the way and we are fully committed to taking everyone’s views on board.  These new proposals for the Church of England secondary sector are the result of us listening to the views of the schools involved, addressing their concerns and coming up with a new, exciting option which we feel will fully meet their needs.  At the heart of everything we are doing is a commitment to building a brighter future for our young people and giving them a first-class education in first-class buildings. We believe these new plans will help us achieve this.”

The proposals, put forward by the Diocese of Liverpool, are yet to be agreed by the governing bodies of the three schools.

The plans will go before the council’s executive board in August and are conditional on the full agreement of the schools’ governing bodies.  If given the go-ahead, St Hilda’s and Archbishop Blanch would move into brand new state of the art facilities at the Edge Lane Innovation Park in 2014.

Important historical parts of the Littlewoods building would be preserved.

Liverpool’s Building Schools, Skills, Success programme is the biggest schools rebuilding scheme ever seen in the city. Liverpool is included in Wave 2 and Wave 6 of the government programme.

Around £500m of government funding is being invested between now and 2017 in rebuilding or refurbishing every secondary school in the city, giving Liverpool the opportunity to boost educational standards, give young people the skills employers want and increase opportunities across the board.

Liverpool has its own unique branding for the programme which will soon be seen on building hoardings across the city and at schools as work begins.

Work has already started on stunning 21st century facilities under ‘Wave 2’ of the programme - at Gateacre; West Derby; King David; Alsop; Cardinal Heenan and Broughton Hall; and Lower Lee schools.

Further details on the programme are available from:-


THE search is on for individuals with the skills and passion to help transform rural Britain and people from the North West are being encouraged to apply.  6 ‘champions’ are required to work with villages to drive a successful and sustainable business venture. The biggest barrier to starting up a business is access to finance. In order to give each project the best chance possible, champions will be paid a salary of £30,000 and the business will receive up to £400,000 in funding get the idea off the ground.

Part of the Village SOS initiative, candidates will live for a year in the village they are tasked with revitalising. Candidates with a track record of running any kind of business or project are encouraged to apply. They could be a successful entrepreneur, community activist, marketing whizz, festival manager, career high flyer, redundant banker or CEO who is looking for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a difference to a rural community.

Sarah Bevan-Fischer, Head of Make Your Mark North West, said:- “There are many highly skilled people out there who may want to use today’s uncertainties as an opportunity to change their career direction. We would urge people from throughout the region to apply for the village champion positions and put their entrepreneurial ideas into practice.  This job could be the best in the UK and what is even better is that the results of the project will have a direct impact on the residents within each area. It is a big responsibility but one that we feel could achieve some fantastic results. We would encourage local people to put themselves forward as candidates.”

There are more highly skilled people in the job market than ever; levels of unemployment continued to rise in quarter one of 2009 amongst managers and senior officials, and also rose within agriculture, manufacturing, hotels & restaurants and banking & finance.

Village SOS is a partnership between enterprise campaign Make Your Mark, BBC One and the Big Lottery Fund (BIG). Villages from across the UK are also applying to take part and champions are needed to help them set their business ideas in motion. Champions can also put in their own money for a profit share (and villagers and other third parties can too), as long as the investment is no more than the Lottery grant, which may be attractive entrepreneurs looking to run a project and invest their own capital.

The closing date for applications from Village Champions and villages is Friday, 14 August 2009, and further information can be found at  or  A shortlist of champions will be presented to the villages and they will choose the candidate who brings the most suitable skills to their project.

The BBC will be charting each village’s journey in a 6-part series to be aired next year. The programmes will follow the trials and tribulations of the village communities and their champions as they pull together to bring life back into their area, create jobs and inspire others.

BIG is searching for the villages and will fund the 6 chosen community-owned rural enterprises – which could represent a range of industries and businesses, including manufacturing, retail, music and arts – for their 1st year with up to £400,000. They are looking for villages with innovative ideas, the more varied, ambitious and unusual the better!

Sir Clive Booth, Chair of the Big Lottery Fund, said:- "Time is running out for the UK’s rural communities to apply for a slice of Village SOS funding and for the chance to work with successful entrepreneurs to develop their ideas – so apply now!  Village SOS also hopes to make a positive difference in the long term and alongside the BBC One series will be a major learning campaign. It will help other villages use the learning and enthusiasm from the programme to start a new business that could regenerate their own communities."

The Village Champion contract will run for a year but it’s hoped that some or all will stay on and ensure the project becomes sustainable beyond when the TV cameras will be rolling.

In addition a BBC Learning campaign will accompany the TV series and encourage other rural communities to set up ventures.

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