Ambitious project to build new sixth form centre at Sidestrand Hall School near Cromer

Proposed site for Sidestrand Hall School's new sixth form block. Left to right, Sam Cooper, 15, Jord

Proposed site for Sidestrand Hall School's new sixth form block. Left to right, Sam Cooper, 15, Jordan Middleton, 15, Alex Kelsall, 17, headteacher Sarah Macro, vocational instructor Liam Davies, Lewiss Oakley, 15, Jowen Banthorpe, 15 and Samuel Glew, 16. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A north Norfolk complex needs school hopes to expand and build a new sixth form centre following a £636,000 windfall.

If plans are approved by Norfolk County Council, the central government cash for Sidestrand Hall School, near Cromer, will be used to build the site for up to 40 Norfolk teenagers aged between 16 and 19 who have special educational needs.

The school also hopes to provide 12 places for Norfolk youngsters aged between seven and 16 with serious Asperger's syndrome in specialist buildings with £380,000 from the county council.

A six-week public consultation about both proposals has started and drop-in sessions will be held at the 158-pupil school this Friday and Tuesday May 13 between 3.30-5.30pm.

Headteacher Sarah Macro said she was excited about the projects and was hopeful building work would start in September, when new students would be admitted.

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She said: 'There is a huge demand for places in specialist schools.'

Part of the aim of both projects is to reduce the amount of young people with special needs who are not in education, employment or training (NEET).

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Some pupils with complex needs, and their families, in north Norfolk worry about travelling to a college out of the area.

Currently former Sidestrand Hall students study at City College Norwich, Easton College and Great Yarmouth College but some drop out because different buildings can bring out insecurities.

'We have got to keep aspirations going,' she added.

Of the 52 NEETS in north Norfolk in September 2012, 32 had learning difficulties and disabilities.

The new sixth form would include five classrooms, a kitchen and common room and would teach vocational and A-level qualifications.

There are currently 10 complex needs schools in Norfolk and Sidestrand Hall is one of three that does not have a sixth form centre.

The other two are Fred Nicholson School in Dereham and The Parkside School in Norwich.

To view the consultation documents visit

What do you think about special educational needs provision in Norfolk? Email

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