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Plans submitted for 'unique' rural school

PUBLISHED: 10:12 05 September 2019 | UPDATED: 10:38 05 September 2019

Artist's impression of the new Wymondham College Prep School. The Sapientia Education Trust, which is sponsoring the school, has had to delay the opening of its boarding provision. Picture: LSI/Morgan Sindall

Artist's impression of the new Wymondham College Prep School. The Sapientia Education Trust, which is sponsoring the school, has had to delay the opening of its boarding provision. Picture: LSI/Morgan Sindall

LSI/Morgan Sindall

Proposals for a "nationally unique" state school have been submitted to planners.

Artist's impression of the new Wymondham College Prep School. The Sapientia Education Trust, which is sponsoring the school, has had to delay the opening of its boarding provision. Picture: LSI/Morgan SindallArtist's impression of the new Wymondham College Prep School. The Sapientia Education Trust, which is sponsoring the school, has had to delay the opening of its boarding provision. Picture: LSI/Morgan Sindall

An application for the new Wymondham College Prep School says it will be the first in the country with primary state boarding places and would fulfil a "national need" for affordable boarding for younger pupils.

Set to be built on the Wymondham College campus in Golf Links Road, it will comprise a 452-place school and a 32-place boarding house with landscaping, parking and play facilities including a multi-use games area.

It is expected to cost around £9m and create 46 full-time jobs.

Norfolk County Council has identified a need for two new primary schools in the area due to planned housing development. As well as the prep school, a site in Silfield has been earmarked.

Wymondham College. PICTURE: Wymondham College.Wymondham College. PICTURE: Wymondham College.

A planning statement from agent Lanpro said the Sapientia Education Trust, which will run the prep school, has worked with the county council to ensure the new school meets local need and to minimise the impact on smaller rural schools, for example Morley and Spooner Row.

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It also said the unique primary boarding provision could give "huge advantage" to some of the country's most deprived children who might otherwise find themselves in the care system.

Concerns had been raised about the proposed location of the prep school and the impact of extra traffic along Golf Links Road.

But the planning statement said that, in order for the new boarding provision to be successful, it was "imperative" that it was located on the site of an established boarding school to allow facilities and services to be shared.

A travel assessment from Lanpro said measures will be implemented to reduce the number of extra cars including the promotion of car-sharing, a footpath to the bus stop in Norwich Road and potentially a new bus service to the college.

Wymondham College Prep was approved by the Department for Education in March 2017 as part of the free school applications process.

But hold-ups in submitting a planning application to South Norfolk Council have caused the Sapientia Education Trust to delay the school's full opening.

Rather than opening to all pupils in September 2020, it will only be taking reception age day pupils next year with the boarding house, for pupils aged nine to 11, not expected to open until 2021.

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