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CONSTRUCTION BEGINS AT PADDINGTON ACADEMY

New Academy funded by Entertainment Software Charity (ESC)

Wednesday 19 January 2005/...The Rt Hon Dame Angela Rumbold, Chair of the United Learning Trust today marked the beginning of construction of Paddington Academy by breaking the concrete of the ground where building is beginning. The Academy has been funded in conjunction with the Entertainment Software Charity, the UK video and computer games industry's charitable fund, which has given £1.5 million to help build the Academy in West London.

Accompanied by invited guests, including 10 pupils of Edward Wilson Primary School, one of those that will send pupils to the Academy, Dame Angela used a 10 tonne excavator to break the ground where the north teaching wing of the Academy building will stand. The Rev Jonathan Wilks of St Peter's, Elgin Avenue performed a blessing as part of a short ceremony.

Dame Angela said: "Every journey begins with a single step. In breaking the concrete today, we are beginning a journey that will end with state-of-the-art classrooms on this very spot in which generations of local children will enjoy learning.

"Building a school is an opportunity to change the lives and improve the futures of thousands of young people. It is a privilege that ULT takes very seriously. I am confident that Paddington Academy will be a remarkable school: happy, popular and thriving at the centre of its local community. I must offer thanks to the UK games industry, which has shown remarkable commitment to working with the ULT in delivering this exciting opportunity to the children of Paddington."

Mark Strachan, of the Entertainment Software Charity, financial sponsors of Paddington Academy outlined his charity's commitment to Paddington Academy and said: "The games industry is a big supporter of the Government's Academies initiative and its Specialist Schools programme, so we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the ULT to help create a new learning centre for inner city children in London.

"The ESC makes a large number of grants every year to charities both in the UK and overseas. Our support of schools and enabling increased education opportunities for young people will continue this year as the games industry continues its 20 year history of charitable work."

Sir Ewan Harper, Chief Executive of United Learning Trust said: "We are delighted that the construction of Paddington Academy is beginning today. Over the next eighteen months an amazing school will emerge on this site. In Barbi Goulding, we have an outstanding principal in place to lead a team of dedicated professionals who will make Paddington Academy a school that we can all be proud of.

Sir Ewan also paid tribute to architect Richard Feilden, who died tragically on 3rd January.

"The stunning building that will house Paddington Academy will be a fitting and lasting tribute to Richard Feilden who was closely involved in its design. He will be greatly missed by all of us working on this project."

Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Education, Cllr Brian Connell said: "The new Academy is a major investment in our children's future and offers a genuine opportunity for Westminster children to gain high quality education and specialist skills.

"I believe the Paddington Academy will raise the aspirations of local students and go some way towards building upon the already good educational facilities in the borough".

ENDS

EDITORS NOTES

1. Academies are all-ability inclusive schools. Like all other mainstream schools, they will be expected to admit pupils with special education needs and disabilities as appropriate. They are free of charge to all students and open to students of all faiths and none.

2. Paddington Academy will open to 1,175 students in September 2006.

3. Paddington Academy has been made possible by financial support from the Entertainment Software Charity. It is being sponsored by the United Church Schools Trust and operated by its subsidiary, the United Learning Trust. All are registered charities.

4. ULT is sponsoring Academies across the country including Manchester Academy (opened September 2003), Lambeth Academy, Northampton Academy (both opened September 2004), Salford Academy (opening September 2005) and Barnsley Academy (opening September 2006).

5. Further information on Paddington Academy is available from Justin McLaren.

6. Further information on the Entertainment Software Charity is available from Kathryn Humphrey on 01462 456 780 (kathryn.humphrey@bhpr.co.uk) or Mark Strachan on 07802 408 133.

About the entertainment software charity

The entertainment software charity is the official charity of the UK games industry. Founded in 2000, the esc was created to use the popularity of gaming to help give back to those less fortunate. The not-for-profit charity was established by prominent members of the gaming community to create a dedicated initiative to advance young people through play, training and education.

The esc works with hardware vendors, developers, software publishers, magazine publishers, retailers, distributors and logistics providers, all of whom give their time, input, resources and intellectual properties to help support charities committed to improving the future of young people.

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