A dream come true: New £1.1m sixth form to open at Sidestrand Hall School

Children's author Tom Blofeld. Photo: BeWILDerwood.

Children's author Tom Blofeld. Photo: BeWILDerwood. - Credit: Norwich Mumbler.

A new £1.1m sixth form college is to open at Sidestrand Hall School.

The project, led by Norfolk County Council, creates a dedicated new provision for 16-19-year-olds at the complex needs school.

It means the school's sixth form, which opened in 2014, now has its own stand-alone timber-framed building, with four classrooms, a student common room, and kitchen.

Known as the Strand College, it means that the school can now support 40 sixth form students.

The official opening will take place on Tuesday, June 20, at 1.30pm and will be led by local author and businessman Tom Blofeld. The Hoveton resident has written three children's books, and is the CEO of family adventure park Bewilderwood.

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Headteacher Sarah Young said: 'I have been the Headteacher here for 14 years now and the school has developed a lot over the years - moving from 105 pupils to 170 - but finally achieving this sixth form college provision is a dream come true.

'Parents love it as they don't have to consider a transition to another setting and we can now offer opportunities and training for our students to properly prepare them for life after Sidestrand Hall.'

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The school was awarded a Government grant of £636,500 and £364,000 from Norfolk County Council. The remaining £100,000 came from the school's own budget.

Penny Carpenter, chairman of the Children's Services Committee at Norfolk County Council, said: 'We are investing in special school provision in Norfolk to ensure that students with complex needs have the very best facilities.

'This new sixth form building means that students at Sidestrand can stay closer to home and continue with their studies up to the age of 19.'

The new building was designed by NPS Ltd and built by Gill Building.

Older students at the school can follow a range of options including farming, landscaping, retail, cooking, shopping, childcare, crafts, bicycle maintenance, independent travel, household jobs, personal budgeting, health and fitness.

Ed Maxfield, County Councillor for Sidestrand, said: 'Sidestrand Hall is a great school and this new building with gives its older students the facilities they need to develop the skills and independence they need for the future.'

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