A major plan to build a new world-class sixth form college in Bury St Edmunds has been given the green light by the Department for Education.
In March 2016, the Suffolk Academies Trust (a unique collaboration between West Suffolk College and Suffolk One), supported by King Edward VI School and Samuel Ward Academy Trust (sponsor of the new Sybil Andrews Academy secondary school in Bury St Edmunds), submitted an application to the Department of Education to open a new multi-million pound sixth form college for West Suffolk.
In September 2016, the government announced that the application had been successful.
The inclusive new provision aims to replicate the success of Suffolk One, an outstanding sixth form college in Ipswich and will offer more than 40 high quality A-Level courses to 16-19 year olds from across the whole of West Suffolk.
It is hoped that a site will be secured close to West Suffolk College and King Edward IV School in order to create an innovative ‘learning village’. This will enable greater flexibility of timetabling and shared staffing between institutions.
Geoff Barton, Headteacher of King Edward VI School said:
‘This is a thrilling development – for our students, staff, and young people across West Suffolk. Everything we believe to be essential in Sixth Form education can now be developed on a larger scale – including a rich range of extra-curricular opportunities in music, the arts, sport, debating and international leadership. Following the final implementation of two-tier education, the educational opportunities in this area have never been stronger, or more exciting. We are proud to be working in such a brilliant partnership”
Dr Nikos Savvas, Chief Executive of the Suffolk Academies Trust and Principal of West Suffolk College said:
‘I am delighted by this announcement today. The unique partnership between these leading education providers will ensure that all young people of West Suffolk have access to the very best in world class education. We will be able to offer a huge range of subjects and opportunities not currently available to 16-19 year olds in this region. It is wonderful that the government has recognised the demand for this project and to have the backing of so many leading figures in education and business and the full support of all our local politicians.
Howard Lay, Chief Executive of the Samuel Ward Academy Trust which sponsors the Sybil Andrews Academy, said:
‘This is fantastic news for students and their parents across West Suffolk, providing a strong Sixth Form ethos, making available a huge range of courses, and signalling to everyone that here in Suffolk we can compete with the best Sixth Form centres in the UK. The sixth form college will signal just how collaboration and partnership can raise standards and aspirations’
The sixth form has the full support of Suffolk County Council and will work closely with all our local schools and sixth forms to ensure the new school benefits the whole community.