Post-16 courses and qualifications will soon be offered at Watton’s Wayland Community High School for the first time after its academy plans were approved by the Department for Education.

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The school is due to open as an academy in the spring and will be sponsored by City College Norwich, it was announced today (Wednesday).

A strong partnership already exists between the school and college and the academy plans were widely supported by students, teachers, parents and governors during a consultation earlier this year.

Older pupils will now be able to stay on at Wayland after their GCSEs, with academic and vocational courses - including A-levels - to be offered both on site and at the college.

“It’s very exciting,” said headteacher Michael Rose. “It’s about expanding the opportunities for young people to learn in their own communities.

“This new partnership will ensure there will be significant and substantial support for creative and relevant learning opportunities for all of our young people.

“By becoming an academy, we can be sure of continued progress and improvement, thus ensuring the very best education for the young people of Wayland.

“An exciting part of our vision is to create new and unique provision for our students when they get to the age of 16, bringing academic and vocational learning and training opportunities to our students in Wayland and in Norwich.”

Wayland High opened a new £2m vocational skills centre two years ago, working in partnership with schools, colleges and businesses to offer courses in subjects such as engineering and construction for under 16s.

The school, in Merton Road, will now join City Academy Norwich as part of a dynamic federation of institutions affiliated with the college.

Dick Palmer, principal at City College Norwich, said: “This is great news for Wayland Community High School, with whom we are delighted to be working in closer partnership to offer new and transformational post-16 learning opportunities.

“As we have seen at City Academy Norwich, sharing resources and innovative practice within a federated model delivers positive and exciting results and we are looking forward to a really successful partnership with Wayland.”

Wayland pupils currently travel to Dereham, Swaffham, Wymondham or Norwich to continue their studies.

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