Building work to start on Norwich’s next academy

Work to create a �21.5m academy school in Norwich is set to begin in less than a month.

The New Year will bring new hope for hundreds of youngsters in the Earlham area, when the foundations begin to be dug for the new City Academy Norwich, which will replace the old Earlham High School complex on Earlham Road.

Today, Norfolk County Council's cabinet was expected to agree to the signing of the agreements for the project, which will enable constructor Kier to start work on January 4.

A report to the meeting says the final business case, development agreement and design and build contract must be signed by December 21 'in order to meet the timetable' and hand the completed building to the academy trust in May 2012.

The report says: 'Not procuring a new building is not an option. However, cabinet could decide not to delegate approval for signature of the design and build contract and the development agreement to the cabinet member for children's services.

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'The implication of this is that the contract signature would be delayed and that the new school building would not be ready for May 2012 and handover would be delayed until another suitable holiday period for the academy.'

The business case is due to be submitted to Partnerships for Schools tomorrow and the design and build contract signed between the council and Kier by December 20.

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Members are recommended to delegate the signing of the design and build contract and of the development agreement between the council and the academy trust to Alison Thomas, cabinet member for children's services.

The plan is for the academy to move into the new building from summer 2012, after which the existing buildings will be demolished and the remaining work completed by spring 2013.

City Academy Norwich, which has been based in the buildings of the former Earlham High since it opened in September 2009, was one of the final new-build academy schemes to squeeze through before the government slashed education building funding.

Other proposed rebuilds, including at Ormiston Victory Academy Costessey and Ormiston Venture Academy Gorleston, look likely to have to settle for cheaper remodelling of existing buildings, rather than a new complex.

The new City Academy Norwich plans were approved on September 17 by the county council's planning regulatory committee.

The academy will cater for up to 900 11-16s and 200 16-19s. The lead sponsor is City College Norwich, with co-sponsors the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Norfolk County Council and education partner Norwich School.

One of the features of the new building is that it will be linked to the UEA's environmentally efficient heating system for its hot water and heating.

The academy has been funded by the Department for Education to the tune of �21,112,560, while the county council has provided �340,000 for the development of a specialist resource base for children with special education needs and learning difficulties.

Do you have an education story? Call Steve Downes on 01263 513920 or email

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