Private girls' school to become academy

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The Independent Online

A leading independent girls' school is to abolish its fees and move into the state sector as one of the Government's flagship academies.

Colston's Girls' School, in Bristol, which was established in 1891 and has fees of £7,600 a year, is planning to open as an academy next September specialising in teaching languages and environmental issues.

The school will become the first largely fee-paying girls- only private school to become an academy.

The only other girls-only school to become an academy - Belvedere in Liverpool - had already adopted an open-access scheme where all pupils were admitted on merit regardless of their parents' ability to pay. The millionaire philanthropist Sir Peter Lampl's Sutton Trust charity subsidised the fees.

Colston's already offers nine languages - French, Spanish, Russian, German, Mandarin, Japanese and Italian as well as Latin and Classical Greek.

Now it will also insist that green issues and sustainability are tackled in every area of the curriculum.

"Both languages and our green initiative will help to develop the girls' understanding of their position in the wider world - preparing them to take their place as global citizens," said the headmistress, Lesley Ann Jones. The new academy will be sponsored by the school's owners, the Merchant Venturers, which will be putting £1m into the venture.