THE bulldozers have arrived at Charter Academy as part of an £8m project to renovate the school – including building a sixth form.
The Southsea school, which was formerly St Luke’s, converted to an academy in 2009 and GCSE results have risen since that time.
Now, the project will see old, run-down buildings demolished with modern facilities, including a sixth form.
Vice-principal Naomi Carter said: ‘It will give teaching and learning for students for the 21st century.
‘Especially for A-level students, because if we haven’t got up-to-date teaching facilities, it’s very difficult to accommodate what they need for university.
‘It’s a new chapter in the school’s life. We want to show that there’s a bit of pride in this area and that children can go on and do new things. It shows that we take pride in what we’re doing.’
The funding came from the government’s Building Schools for the Future programme, which has now been scrapped. But Charter Academy is one of 75 schools across the country to receive a share of the final funding.
Just two buildings will remain – and both of those will be refurbished.
The demolition is being carried out by Interserve Construction. Project manager Gareth Drake said: ‘The biggest challenge is in each phase we have to make sure that the children aren’t affected by what we are doing.
‘We have to minimise noise and make sure that the teaching in the school continues with us in the background. It will be a great facility. It will benefit the children that will come to the school for the next 20 or 30 years.’
Year 11 pupil Adam Hills, 15, said: ‘It’s good because they have been saying for a while there will be changes round here. Now we can start to see it come together. It will make a big difference.’
Zarina Molchan, 16, also in Year 11, added: ‘It’s sad to see some of the buildings go. I remember going to English lessons in there. It’s nostalgic when you look back on it. Now it’s just an empty box.
‘But it’s a very exciting prospect. The fact that there is going to be a sixth form is great because kids can stay in the same school without the hassle of going to different colleges.’
The sixth form will open in September next year.