De La Salle Humanities College in Liverpool became the De La Salle Academy in January this year. The “outstanding” boys’ school, whose main sponsor is the De La Salle Brothers, received £10 million in Government funding to update its buildings and teaching facilities and to provide extra places for local children.
On March 11, the official launch day for parents was held and plans to transform the academy into the city’s first media specialist academy were unveiled by Mr Patrick Ferguson, the head master. The plans include demolishing outdated buildings and installing state-of-the-art technology including a green screen film studio which will be used to produce student television news and films. There will also be Apple Mac editing suites (one of which has already been officially opened) and laptops will be provided for every pupil.
The academy has received the backing of local media organisations who have also offered their support to provide practical training and workshops.
The focus of the launch day was the media specialism. Actors Jack McMullen and Josh Bolt were on hand to help students, teachers, parents and the general public celebrate the open day.
Mr McMullen, who stars in Waterloo Road, and Mr Bolt, who appeared in the John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy, volunteered their time to support the new Academy. They taught students television skills and interviewed people for a film about the academy.
Mr McMullen, who was filming with members of Madhatters’ Collective, his dance and drama group, said: “The facilities at this school are amazing – I’m not long out of school but I never dreamed of having the kind of computers, TV studio and film editing suites that you have here.”
Local radio station Radio City was on site with their media bus to show the students how radio broadcasting works.
One Radio City DJ and presenter said that Radio City was looking forward to supporting the academy over the long term. “We’ll be putting on workshops about radio broadcasting and offering some work placements so that students can gain a real insight into working in the media.”