£750,000 relocation scheme announced as part of plan to double Fakenham sixth form capacity in three years

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Plans which could see Fakenham’s sixth form capacity double over the next three years have been unveiled this evening.

The proposals will see the current Fakenham College renamed as Fakenham Sixth Form and move from its current home in Wells Road to the academy site in Field Lane.

An initial £750,000 is being spent to refurbish facilities at Field Lane so that all sixth form teaching can take place there from this September.

And talks are also taking place in a bid to secure funding to extend the department over the next three years.

If successful, up to 300 students could be taught in the sixth form by 2020, compared to the 150 places that are currently available.

Officials say the closure of the college site will save the school more than £100,000 a year, end the current loss of teaching time transferring between the two sites and allow more time for extra-curricular activities.

Principal Matthew Parr-Burman said: “In both educational and financial terms, the case for moving to a single site was compelling and this will bring numerous benefits for the whole school.

“As much as we are all very fond of the historic Wells Road building, it sadly no longer provides a suitable environment in which to learn and costs a huge amount to maintain.

“Continuing with the current arrangement would not have been a responsible use of scarce public funds and not in the best interests of our students.”

A farewell day is being planned to take place at the Wells Road site in the summer and discussions are already underway to transfer the buildings back to their owners, Norfolk County Council.

The initial phase of the project will see 10 classrooms, a dedicated study space and canteen facilities available for sixth form students at the Field Lane site.

Discussions are also taking place between the academy’s sponsor, the TEN Group (Transforming Education in Norfolk) and the Education Funding Agency, which is hoped will lead to the construction of a brand new sixth form block, technology block and additional science facilities.

If funding is approved, it is hoped the project will be completed by 2020.

Mr Parr-Burman said: “With our exciting plans for a second phase of development, the longer-term future for the school is looking extremely positive.”

More information about the proposals is available on the school’s website, www.fakenhamacademy.org.uk. Displays are also in place in the school’s reception and at the town’s library.