Proposal for ‘world class’ A-Level sixth form centre for West Suffolk


A powerful educational alliance is planning to create a world class sixth form centre based in Bury St Edmunds to serve students from across West Suffolk.

Joining forces are Suffolk Academies Trust (a unique collaboration between West Suffolk College and Suffolk One), King Edward VI School and Samuel Ward Academies Trust that are sponsoring the new secondary school, Sybil Andrews, in Bury St Edmunds. After consultation with other schools, an application has this week been submitted to the Department for Education to establish a multi-million pound centre of sixth form excellence.

The proposal builds on the long-established success of King Edward VI School’s large Sixth Form, and of Suffolk One, the outstanding sixth form college of 1850 students in Ipswich.

The aim is to offer more than 40 high quality A-level courses to young people from across West Suffolk, helping students to gain places at top universities and jobs in the UK’s highest-performing businesses.

The ambition is to locate the new centre on the King Edward VI School site close to West Suffolk College in order to create an innovative ‘learning village’. This will enable greater flexibility of timetabling and shared staffing between the institutions.

Geoff Barton, Headteacher of King Edward VI School, said:

‘We couldn’t be more excited to extend the strong sixth form expertise we already have, and to work with such a respected team to develop a strong ethos and exceptional results. 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. In this way, students across West Suffolk will benefit from an education provision that brims with energy, ambition and a sense of mission’.

Dr Nikos Savvas, Chief Executive of the Suffolk Academies Trust, said:

‘The unique and significant support already gained from sixth forms in the areas adds credibility and momentum to this exciting new project. We want to ensure that all 16-18 year old academic students in this area benefit from world class A-level teaching. We will replicate here in West Suffolk the very successful model that One delivers in the east of the county, building on the expertise of King Edward VI School, and working in close partnership with other schools’.

Howard Lay, Chief Executive of the Samuel Ward Academies Trust which is opening the Sybil Andrews Academy, said:

‘This proposal will be 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 centre will signal just how collaboration and partnership can raise standards and aspirations’.