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School project decision

PUBLISHED: 15:11 16 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:32 07 July 2010

Objections from a clutch of schools and colleges were dismissed last night as a Norfolk school was given permission to open a £5.26m sixth form centre for 225 teenagers.

Objections from a clutch of schools and colleges were dismissed last night as a Norfolk school was given permission to open a £5.26m sixth form centre for 225 teenagers.

Reepham High School will open the new facility in September 2009 after the plan was unanimously backed by Norfolk County Council's cabinet.

The plan has been strongly supported locally, but Fakenham High, Aylsham High, Paston College at North Walsham and East Norfolk College at Gorleston said the move could reduce student choice and lower standards.

Cabinet heard that the college was a “natural extension” to one of Norfolk's outstanding high schools, and would go some way to meeting the need for 3,000 extra high school places across Norfolk when staying on until 18 became compulsory.

Rosalie Monbiot, cabinet member for children's services, said: “Students have to travel a considerable distance to access further education, which puts some of them off.”

Fellow cabinet member John Gretton said: “I think this is about increasing much-needed provision, not poaching students from other sixth forms.”

Reepham headteacher Chris Hassell said: “We are interested in growing provision. We are interested in children. That's what this is all about. We want to achieve for them the highest possible standards.

“I hope this will benefit the children of Reepham, north Norfolk and Norfolk. The buildings will be magnificent and it's a wonderful opportunity for children.”

The project is being fully funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). Mr Hassell said the aim was to make the college “zero carbon”.

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