A disused college building in Birmingham is set to be transformed into a 400-pupil facility for those wanting a career in TV, film or theatre. The city council-owned building at 46 to 48 Stour Street was previously the Ladywood Centre of the former South Birmingham College (now South and City College Birmingham).
Now it is planned to become a new free school run by Birmingham Ormiston Academy, an independent state-funded academy which already runs a city centre site for 14 to 19-year-olds.
The new facility would cater for 400 pupils aged 16 and over wishing to enter TV, film or theatre, according to a report from council officers to the cabinet. The report states an estimated 10,000 extra secondary school places need to be provided by 2024, and the council would fail to do this if the proposal doesn’t go ahead. The college surrendered the lease to the council last year, and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has since proposed buying it to allow it to allow it to become a free school.
Report authors Jaswinder Didially, the council’s head of education infrastructure, and Azmat Mir, head of property consultancy, recommend the cabinet authorises the sale for £2.7 million.
The report states: “Options are being explored for expansion across our current secondary school supply. However, with significantly fewer secondary schools (87 schools) than primary schools (302 schools) it is evident that the council will not be able to meet all of our needs within our existing estate. The council are therefore looking to the Government’s Free School programme to support us to deliver additional secondary schools and school places.
“If the proposal doesn’t go ahead then the city council would fail to meet its statutory obligation to ensure that there are sufficient school places, secure diversity in the provision of schools and increase opportunities for parental choice through planning and securing additional provision.”
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