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Fakenham sixth form reopens at Academy site after £750,000 revamp

PUBLISHED: 17:23 01 November 2017 | UPDATED: 00:08 03 November 2017

The official opening of the new Fakenham Sixth Form. Pictured with assistant head Lianne Higgins are (from left) Callum Gray, Dominic Hancock, Millie Latter, Izzy Duncan, Michael Viner, Tom Lockhart and Tom Daly. Picture: Ian Burt

The official opening of the new Fakenham Sixth Form. Pictured with assistant head Lianne Higgins are (from left) Callum Gray, Dominic Hancock, Millie Latter, Izzy Duncan, Michael Viner, Tom Lockhart and Tom Daly. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

The relocation of Fakenham College was completed today, as the refurbished sixth form was unveiled at the Fakenham Academy site.

The official opening of the new Fakenham Sixth Form. Picture: Ian Burt The official opening of the new Fakenham Sixth Form. Picture: Ian Burt

But new classrooms and fresh notebooks weren’t the only ‘back-to-school’ change in the air, as the college has even been given a new name.

Fakenham Sixth Form, as the college will now be known, is part of Fakenham Academy, the town’s high school.

And thanks to the move from its former buildings on Wells Road, the school and sixth form will now operate from the same site, on Field Lane.

The sixth form has also benefitted from a £750,000 refurbishment, which included a dedicated area for sixth form students; work and study spaces; a canteen; and ten classrooms solely for sixth form teaching.

The official opening of the new Fakenham Sixth Form. Picture: Ian Burt The official opening of the new Fakenham Sixth Form. Picture: Ian Burt

These classrooms are based in two thirds of the current Perowne building at Fakenham Academy.

Science classrooms were also refurbished for sixth form use, and dedicated parking spaces and a main entrance for sixth formers have been provided.

With 1,000 new houses to be built in the area in the next ten years, the Academy predicts that further expansion will be required in 2020, to meet the growing demand for school and sixth form places in the town.

The Academy is in discussions with its sponsor, Transforming Education in Norfolk (TEN), to arrange further investment into the site.

The official opening of the new Fakenham Sixth Form. Picture: Ian Burt The official opening of the new Fakenham Sixth Form. Picture: Ian Burt

If successful, this could lead to the creation of three new buildings: a new technology block; new science spaces and a whole new sixth form block.

It is hoped that by 2020, up to 300 sixth form students could be taught there, rather than the current 150.

Matthew Parr-Burman, principal of Fakenham Academy said: “This is an exciting time for Fakenham sixth form.

“I am delighted by the positive and enthusiastic response that students and staff have had to the change of site and new facilities.

Pictured: (L-R back) Ben Swift, Ian Leader, Justin Howe and Ben Butterfield. (L-R front) Rhys Morgan and Jordan Walker. Photo: Fisher Bullen Pictured: (L-R back) Ben Swift, Ian Leader, Justin Howe and Ben Butterfield. (L-R front) Rhys Morgan and Jordan Walker. Photo: Fisher Bullen

“Thanks go to the TEN Group for funding the project and to Norfolk Educational Services, and our architects and contractors, for ensuring that the works were completed on time and on budget.

“The completion of this project puts Fakenham Academy in a good position to develop our site further and meet increased demand for places due to forecast demographic change.”

Entrants to Fakenham sixth form up by over a third on previous year

The numbers of students who began A-level courses at Fakenham sixth form this year increased by more than a third on the previous year.

And the refurbished sixth form is also popular among current Academy students.

Sixth form council member Tom Daly, 17, who is studying A-Levels in physics, maths and chemistry, said: “I thought it was nice and inclusive that the council had a big involvement. We chose the flooring and the colour schemes for the rooms.

“I think the finished result is excellent and I am proud to go to Fakenham sixth form.”

Izzy Duncan, 18, is studying A-Levels in philosophy, drama and history.

She added: “It was really important for students to have this input in making the sixth form different from the high school.

“The ethos hasn’t changed. Fakenham sixth form is still very much a family.

“Teachers are supportive and we are encouraged to make our own decisions and be responsible.”

Fakenham Academy alumni ‘proud’ to have rebuilt sixth form

Building company, Fisher Bullen, who were contracted to carry out the work, employ several former students from over the last four decades.

Contracts manager, Justin Howe, studied woodwork at the Academy. He later became a carpenter at Fisher Bullen.

Mr Howe said: “It’s been a pleasure to return and work at the school where my interest in the building industry began.

“We feel proud knowing this is going to benefit the local community for future generations.

“I look forward to my daughter joining in a few years and making the most of the new state-of-the-art facilities we have worked on.”

The team also included foreman Ben Swift; carpenters Jordan Walker, Paul Sewter, and Ben Butterfield; site operative Ian Leader; and apprentice carpenter Rhys Morgan.

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