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Thetford Academy looks set to settle on a single site

PUBLISHED: 13:30 20 February 2011 | UPDATED: 13:30 20 February 2011

Thetford Academy's  South Campus, formerly the Charles Burrell High School. Picture: Denise Bradley.

Thetford Academy's South Campus, formerly the Charles Burrell High School. Picture: Denise Bradley.

©Archant Photographic 2011

Plans by Thetford Academy to expand to a third site have been abandoned, with the school now set to settle at one location in 2013.

"The original worry with one site was that it would be a very large school so we’re working on ways of breaking that up so it doesn’t feel it."

Melvyn Roffe

Although £18.2m was awarded to the school earlier this year by the government, it falls short of the amount needed to build the third site off Bridge Street, on the site of the Anchor Hotel and current bus station.

Currently the school occupies the former Charles Burrell and Rosemary Musker buildings, but from September 2013 it will occupy just one site. It is not yet confirmed where this will be.

Original plans had been to expand into a new town centre forum planned for Bridge Street.

Melvyn Roffe, principal of Thetford Academy’s lead sponsor, Wymondham College, said disruption would be kept to a minimum during the move.

“We’re now moving towards a single-site solution – firstly because of the amount of capital we’ve been granted by the government. Although it’s a lot of money, we’ve got to focus that on the needs of the students. The forum was always part of a wider regeneration scheme and while we were pleased to be part of that, we can’t afford it anymore.

“We also think that in developing the curriculum at the academy a single site solution would be better.”

Pupils were sent home this week with a letter outlining how the changes would be implemented, as well as a description of plans to split year groups later this year. In September this year all students in Years 7 and 8 will be taught on the North Campus on Croxton Road and Year 9 and 10 will work together at the South Campus on Staniforth Road.

Classes which will be Year 11 in September will remain in their current academy campuses to avoid disruption during their exam year. Free buses will run between the two campuses and there will be provision for free transport for students who attend after school activities.

Mr Roffe added that, after this year, pupils would not see any more moves until September 2013.

“The original worry with one site was that it would be a very large school so we’re working on ways of breaking that up so it doesn’t feel it,” he said. “We’re working on ways of making it a comfortable, friendly place to be.

“Some of the anxieties of parents had come from the fact there didn’t seem to be a strategy but now we can be confident we can deliver on one site. What we want now is for them to work with us on a project that will get us a very good school which everyone in Thetford can be proud of.”

Thetford Academy principal Christine Carey said: “There are two possible sites away from the town centre for the new build and these are being discussed with planners to ensure we have the very best position for this exciting project for Thetford.”

rebecca.gough@archant.co.uk

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