Top author Emily Barr is one of the first guests at Norwich High School for Girls’ �1.1m sixth form centre

A top author and former pupil was one of the first special guests as a Norwich independent school celebrated the opening of its �1.1m sixth form centre.

Emily Barr, who attended Norwich High School for Girls from 1980-88, talked on Wednesday to year 12 students about her new book, The First Wife.

She was speaking in the lecture hall of the new centre, which opened for business at the Newmarket Road school last week.

Headmaster Jason Morrow, who is approaching the end of his first year as the first man to lead the school, said: 'The block gives the sixth formers a really inspirational space in which to work.

'It's designed to have lots of different types of area, so that they can find a space that works for them if they're in discussions, private study, planning an event or organising an activity.


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'There is also a really nice space in the cafe if staff want to meet with pupils or parents.'

The block includes two art studios, one for fine art and one for textiles, a lecture theatre, a careers centre, study and planning areas, a cafe, a common room and a roof terrace.

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Mr Morrow said work would go on in the summer to upgrade the adjoining Lanchester House block, which continued to be the base for part of the sixth form block.

He added: 'The idea of the new facilities is to support to transition from being school pupils to being students. It's their space.'

The centre has already had an interesting past.

Last year, the architects had to radically alter the base of the building by switching from traditional foundations to a raised design, so that it did not harm the roots of a towering wellingtonia tree in the grounds.

And plans for an official opening on April 29 were cancelled when the school realised the event clashed by the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Mr Morrow said the official opening would be held in the autumn term.

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