Launch of academy for excluded pupils
TEENAGE children not being taught in mainstream schools are to be provided with support at a new training centre.
Kinetic Academy has won permission to turn an empty unit in Sandon Road, Meir, into an education and training centre.
The Longton-based organisation plans to open the centre for up to 25 students.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has approved the plans to transform the site of the former Meir Youth Cafe.
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The group's planning application states: "We offer full time and part-time placements predominantly for 14 to 16-year-olds who have been excluded from school.
"We are developing our services to extend our provision to the 16-plus field to support those not in employment, education and training."
The two-floor centre, which is being rented from the council, will have four main teaching rooms as well as three quiet areas for reading programmes.
It will need to be registered with Ofsted before renovation works start around Easter.
Academy director Nicki Tomlinson, pictured below, said: "This fantastic, purpose-built space will enable us to continue our positive work with young people across the city.
"As part of our evolving service, we aim to work alongside the local community and provide opportunities for them to gain further qualifications and utilise the centre in many other ways.
"Lots of families and parents have been hit by redundancies and unemployability, and Kinetic Academy is about giving the opportunity for young people to be educated and equip them with new skills.
"We want to provide young people in Stoke-on-Trent with opportunities to learn in a different environment that suits their needs."
Twelve workers are currently employed at the academy.
Council planning officer Jennifer Bolton said: "The proposed use will be appropriately located within a town centre, will re-use an existing vacant commercial building and will provide a training facility.
"Given the scale of the premises, the commercial nature of the immediate surrounding area and the distance between the residential properties at the rear, it is unlikely that the proposed used would result in a high noise level that would have a significant adverse impact on the health and quality of life to neighbouring residents."
Education leaders in the city have welcomed the academy's latest plans.
Councillor Ruth Rosenau, cabinet member for regeneration, planning and transportation, said: "We are pleased to be working with Kinetic to agree a lease for the premises to allow them to occupy the building and run their services from there.
"We are supportive of their work and pleased to see a former council building being put to such a positive use for the community by accommodating training and education for young people across the city."