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Academy plan unveiled for Thetford

PUBLISHED: 19:39 09 September 2009 | UPDATED: 21:40 07 July 2010

A radical plan was unveiled this week to replace Thetford's two high schools with a multi-million pound academy on three sites across the town.

The plan would see nearby state boarding school Wymondham College as the lead sponsor, supported by West Suffolk College, Easton College and Norfolk County Council.

A radical plan was unveiled this week to replace Thetford's two high schools with a multi-million pound academy on three sites across the town.

The plan would see nearby state boarding school Wymondham College as the lead sponsor, supported by West Suffolk College, Easton College and Norfolk County Council.

One site would be where the existing Rosemary Musker High is on Croxton Road, while site two would be a yet-to-be-identified new location for a rebuilt Charles Burrell High.

Site three is set to be the proposed Thetford Forum post-16 and community facility, which is likely to be located in the town centre.

The news will get a mixed reception at Charles Burrell, which looks certain to have its hopes of a complete rebuild put back.

A report to Norfolk County Council's cabinet on Monday recommends the school drops out of the top group of Norfolk schools that are bidding to get a share of millions of pounds of rebuild cash from the government.

It was among the front-runners in the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, a national scheme that aims to rebuild or refurbish all of England's high and special schools.

But county cabinet is set to drop it from the lead group because a site has not been found for the complete rebuild of the school.

The decision is expected because the government is insisting that any schools wanting to get into BSF this financial year must be “shovel ready”, and Norfolk wants to maximise its chances of success.

Now Charles Burrell will be hoping that the innovative academy plan goes ahead swiftly.

The cabinet report says the need for the council to acquire a site for the Thetford Forum is an “additional complexity”, and adds: “Although we have not been able to include this Thetford scheme within the first planned group of BSF schools, discussions are underway with the Department for Children, Schools and Families and Partnership for Schools on how this priority scheme can be taken forward at the earliest possible time.”

The academy would be the first in Norfolk to be on more than one site. Norfolk currently has two academies - the Open Academy at the former Heartsease High in north Norwich and City Academy Norwich at the former Earlham High in south-east Norwich.

Others are planned at Costessey High, near Norwich, and at a site outside King's Lynn, replacing The Park High.


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