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Cash boost for school

PUBLISHED: 13:29 27 February 2008 | UPDATED: 14:28 07 July 2010

A north Norfolk high school's bid to create a state-of-the-art sixth form centre has been given a £5.3m boost from the government.

Reepham High School has had expansion plans on the cards for a number of years, but now the project looks set to go into full swing from September this year, thanks to the cash from the Learning and Skills Council.

A north Norfolk high school's bid to create a state-of-the-art sixth form centre has been given a £5.3m boost from the government.

Reepham High School has had expansion plans on the cards for a number of years, but now the project looks set to go into full swing from September this year, thanks to the cash from the Learning and Skills Council.

The grant, announced by the school on Friday, will pay for a purpose built sixth form centre with a wow factor, according to head teacher Chris Hassell.

“It has been designed with a wow factor. We have worked really hard on the school's environment because we believe if they have a good area to learn in they will work and learn.

“The benefits are not just to Reepham, but children of north Norfolk and we will be working in partnership with other schools and move things forward in north Norfolk.

“The national progression rate into higher education is twice that which it is in our part of the world.

“And if you look at a map of Norfolk there is a hole in higher education terms in this part of the county.

“It will save a lot of children having to travel.”

He said that the school had got this far was a mark of its achievements over the last 10 years.

Its third specialist status, maths and computing, is due to be confirmed on April 1 this year, adding to its other specialist ranks as a science and rural dimension college and vocational college.

The school, which submitted a planning application for the scheme last week, still has to get permission from Norfolk County Council to expand its education remit from 11 to 16-year-olds to 11 to 19-year-olds.

This is due to be decided at a county cabinet committee meeting on April 14, Mr Hassell said.

He said the time was right now to add a sixth form to the school as they had put the infrastructure in place in the school to support it.

He hopes it will offer everything from the new International Bachelaureate to A-levels and vocational qualifications, including new diplomas.

The new building would be on the school's playing field thanks to a land swap arranged by Norfolk County Council.

It has bought an agricultural field to create a new playing field and part of the present playing field which falls at a gradient, will be given back to farming.

The new playing field will be big enough to sport a 400m running track and be large enough to hold a full size cricket pitch, which could host county games.

Mr Hassell said he hopes this will see the school become a national centre of excellence in cricket.

The new centre will serve 225 students, will be strong on creative media with high tech sound rooms, an animation suite, a learning resources centre with 60 computers, an ICT suite with 30 computers, a lecture hall, flexible teaching spaces.

On top of the new centre, there are plans to extend the school itself to create additional music facilities, a new art room, and extending the science block, making it the best science block in the county, Mr Hassell said.

Mr Hassell oversaw a new sixth form being created at South Dartmoor Community College before he started at Reepham High.

He has been at the Reepham school for 11 years. It has 800 pupils

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