A SEA of bright purple balloons filled the sky above a Sutton school on Monday as pupils celebrated its new status as an academy.
Staff and students at Sutton Community Academy, formerly Sutton Centre Community College, marked the occasion by asking 400 students to release balloons in the school’s colour.
As part of the change, pupils donned their smart new uniforms and a plaque was unveiled, while teenagers taking part in the Enterprise scheme made cupcakes.
Speaking at the event, the academy’s principal Simon Martin said: “It is the fruition of three years’ work.
“That included a couple of false starts, which were disappointing at the time, but we have ended up in the best place because we have the best academy sponsor.”
The new academy, which will continue to specialise in business, enterprise and the arts, is sponsored by the Academy Transformation Trust, which supports various academies throughout the UK.
Ian Cleland, who is chief executive of the trust, praised the role of the school in the community.
He said: “It is very satisfying (to see this). We have worked with the school for a number of years.
“It has now come together and the school has a great future.
“We have put in the foundations which will enable the school to move forward.
“This is a very special sort of school because of the way it is integrated with its community and the range of provision running right through the age groups.”
Meanwhile, Andrew Mortimer, who is chairman of governors at the school said: “I think we were very fortunate that we have a sponsor who has been attracted to our provision here and who will help us to take it further.
“It is a very important day for us because the last few years have been uncertain.”
Previous plans to transform Sutton Centre into an academy included a link-up with West Notts College to build a £25million academy on part of Sutton Lawn.
But the plans, which were unveiled in 2009, were later shelved.