Dereham high school reveals new plans for post-16 education in the area

Neatherd High School, Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

Neatherd High School, Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Leaders of the newly-formed Mid Norfolk Academy Trust, set up by Dereham's Neatherd High School, have announced a bold ambition to build a new sixth form centre at its current site on Norwich Road.

Dereham Neatherd High School head Peter Devnonish

Dereham Neatherd High School head Peter Devnonish - Credit: Archant

The trustees explained that the high school abandoned its original plans for a new sixth form centre at the current Dereham Sixth Form College site when its proposal was rebuffed by Norfolk County Council, as local education authority, last year.

Now, as Dereham Sixth Form College and Northgate High School have formed a partnership with four primary schools to create another multi academy trust, a stand-alone Neatherd sixth form has emerged as a preferred option.

Peter Devonish, Neatherd's head teacher, said: 'There is still the aspiration to have a sixth form but we need to put together a business case and consult with stakeholders before we can do anything.

'The idea is now to create something on this site as an extension for the Neatherd.

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'We believe that parents and students deserve a choice of where they can get post-16 education and they deserve that choice locally, without having to go to Norwich.

'We feel it would benefit both students from Neatherd and the other local provider Northgate.'

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Mr Devonish and Susan Ferguson, chair of MNAT trustees, said they would be working closely with the LEA to draw up a plan for the new centre 'to make sure Norfolk children are getting the best deal', but added it would be an academic and traditional sixth form offering A level courses.

They would be able to draw on the experience and knowledge of existing staff as well as employ new teachers.

'There are huge advantages of having a sixth form centre on the same site,' said Mr Devonish. 'Staff are more available for intervention and sixth formers can work with the younger children and be role models.

'We have space for a new building and we have to manage the site to ensure quality of provision that is not to the detriment of any other key stages.'

Funding would be sought from the government's Education Funding Agency, which manages £54 billion a year to support all state-provided education for children aged 3 to 19.

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