First day nerves for all as Great Yarmouth’s new high school opens

The opening day for Trafalgar College, the first new high school for 50 years in Great Yarmouth.Pupi

The opening day for Trafalgar College, the first new high school for 50 years in Great Yarmouth.Pupils and teaching staff outside the building.September 2016.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

Dressed in their new uniform and carrying their schoolbags, pupils across the region made their way to school yesterday for their first day back after the summer holidays.

The opening day for Trafalgar College, the first new high school for 50 years in Great Yarmouth.Exec

The opening day for Trafalgar College, the first new high school for 50 years in Great Yarmouth.Executive principal Ian Burchett with pupils Kayne Chapman and Aureja Vaskyte.September 2016.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

But for 88 year seven pupils in Great Yarmouth it wasn't just their first day at a new school - but the first day the school had been open too.

Trafalgar College, in Thamesfield Way, Southtown, had been in the pipeline for two years before executive principal Ian Burchett was finally able to welcome students yesterday morning.

And clutching onto their Trafalagr College branded bags and pencil cases, which the school had provided, the school's first cohort listened carefully as Mr Burchett told them what the school was all about.

This included a focus on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and the importance of a good attitude and correct uniform.

The opening day for Trafalgar College, the first new high school for 50 years in Great Yarmouth.Exec

The opening day for Trafalgar College, the first new high school for 50 years in Great Yarmouth.Executive principal Ian Burchett.September 2016.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016


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'You've got the opportunity here to make this school your own,' they were told.

The Inspiration Trust school is the first new high school to open in the town in 50 years, but is initially based in a converted office building, which was formerly home to oil and gas firm Perenco.

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However, Mr Burchett said they would slowly start using parts of a brand-new school being built on the site next door.

As to whether the existing building would still be used, the 37-year-old said: 'We have lots of opportunities available.'

The opening day for Trafalgar College, the first new high school for 50 years in Great Yarmouth.Pupi

The opening day for Trafalgar College, the first new high school for 50 years in Great Yarmouth.Pupils in a classroom.September 2016.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

Mr Burchett was also pleased about working with the area's industrial sector, and already had connections at the town's Time and Tide Museum.

He added: 'If we're learning about history, why can't that include the history of Yarmouth?'

The location of the school had caused concern for some parents, who were worried about its proximity to busy roads and the nearby industrial estate.

Jade Staff runs a youth group for six - 12-year-olds in Gorleston. On Facebook she said at a road safety session they ran, they found 97pc of the children didn't know how to cross the road.

The opening day for Trafalgar College, the first new high school for 50 years in Great Yarmouth.Sept

The opening day for Trafalgar College, the first new high school for 50 years in Great Yarmouth.September 2016.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

She said: 'Rather than a one session booster it's going to become a more regular thing.'

However Mr Burchett said this had been something they had looked at closely.

'Very early on we looked at the travel plan,' said Mr Burchett, who has been in education for 14 years.

'There's a preferred walking route, at no point do the children have to walk along the dual carriageway.

The opening day for Trafalgar College, the first new high school for 50 years in Great Yarmouth.Pupi

The opening day for Trafalgar College, the first new high school for 50 years in Great Yarmouth.Pupils in a classroom.September 2016.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

'We do encourage the use of public transport and have subsidised bus passes.'

He said the nearest stops were on Southtown Road, and there was then a short walk through to the college.

And in the morning assembly he asked pupils not to go to the Gapton Hall Retail Park, even after school, and not to come to the school from the west.

Going forward, he said he was keen to make Trafalgar College different from other schools.

The opening day for Trafalgar College, the first new high school for 50 years in Great Yarmouth.Exec

The opening day for Trafalgar College, the first new high school for 50 years in Great Yarmouth.Executive principal Ian Burchett.September 2016.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

He said: 'Setting up a new school gives us the chance to do things differently and set high standards that children in Great Yarmouth deserve.'

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