Issue date: 04 December 2001

As part of the University of the West of England’s (UWE) mission to widen participation in HE in the region, the University has teamed up with Bristol City Football Club to help St George Community College become the first City Academy in the South West. The announcement by the Department of Education and Skills (DFES) means that St George will become a City Academy with £2m in business sponsorship and the remainder contributed by the DFES.

St George’s Headteacher, Ray Priest who led the bid said “I’m delighted that years of hard work has paid off. This recognition from government and local sponsors is a real credit to staff at the college. The impact of this announcement on students will be enormous, allowing us to provide much improved facilities, including indoor and outdoor sports facilities.”

John Laycock, Chairman of Bristol City Football Club, who are making the largest contribution to St George, said, “Bristol City is delighted to be able to support this exciting new community initiative whilst simultaneously building a solid future for our own Football Academy.”

Other sponsors include the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, The Wheels Project, The Wallscourt Foundation, the Community College Trust, Travelling Light, Chase Fleming and a number of other trusts.

The University of the West of England helped co-ordinate the funding through its connections with local businesses and the college.

The University initiative follows a number of collaborations with the college over the years aimed at realising the pupil’s potential and encouraging them to aspire to higher education. This includes the highly successful one-to-one mentoring scheme where some 60 UWE students work with pupils encouraging them to complete assignments and work towards their exams.

Instrumental in assisting Ray Priest with funding arrangements were Alfred Morris, UWE’s Vice Chancellor and Bill Marshall, UWE’s Director of Finance.

Bill Marshall is a former student of both St George and UWE. He left St George in 1971 with 3 A-levels and graduated with a 2:1 Business Degree from UWE in 1974. He went on to graduate in two professional qualifications simultaneously in Chartered Accountancy and Chartered Institute of Secretaries and Administration. In 1993 he joined UWE as Director of Finance. Bill said, “My involvement in this project has taken me in a full circle. The creation of the City Academy is especially poignant and it feels good to have been instrumental in helping St George achieve Academy status.”

Alfred Morris said, “UWE’s mission is to raise the aspirations of pupils for higher education particularly those for schools and colleges in socially disadvantaged areas. We believe the single most sustainable and economically viable solution to social exclusion is to raise the standards in schools and colleges. We are pleased to see this come to fruition in St George’s City Academy status”.


Editor's notes

1. Photo call. There will be a launch event and photo opportunity at 10.00 am on Tuesday 4 December at St George Community College. Further details from the Headteacher, Ray Priest on 9553141.
2. Other sponsors contact details: Colin Sexstone, Chief Executive of Bristol City Football Club, Tel: 0117 9630660; Alfred Morris, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West of England - contact the Press Office below.

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