Plan unveiled for Dereham Sixth Form College to open a Swaffham campus

Young people in the mid-Norfolk area have been promised an 'outstanding opportunity' with the creation of a new sixth form campus.

Dereham Sixth Form College –which currently has 450 students and is heavily over-subscribed – is expanding to have a satellite college in the state-of-the-art facilities built just two years ago on the site of Hamond's High School at Swaffham.

Heads and governors of Hamond's and Dereham's two high schools –Neatherd and Northgate – have agreed to create the new campus from September 2012.

They have said it will 'ensure many more young people in the mid Norfolk region can access high quality sixth form education'.

Swaffham currently has the smallest sixth form in Norfolk with space for 60 students and due to the size there is a limit to the number of courses which can be offered.


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Dereham offers 35 courses and the initial plan is to offer a core of about 10-15 A-level subjects at Swaffham and students will be able to travel to Dereham to access others.

Staff may also travel to Swaffham to teach some specialist courses.

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In a joint letter to parents, Dereham Sixth Form College director Phyllis O'Grady, Neatherd headteacher Peter Devonish and Northgate headteacher Paul Mitchell said: 'We look forward to working with all governors, teaching and support staff on this exciting project.'

Hamond's headteacher Stuart Bailey said: 'This represents an outstanding opportunity for the young people of Swaffham and the surrounding area.

'The Swaffham campus will aim to exactly replicate the Dereham experience in terms of the tutorial system, advice and guidance, enrichment activities, induction and activities weeks and will be the subject to its rigorous standards of quality assurance.'

Mr Bailey added: 'It is a fantastic opportunity for any students who would normally have to travel to go to Dereham and it is a win win for everyone.

'It has been a brave decision and is right for everyone.'

Before the final go-ahead is given, a series of conditions have to be met including assurances from the local authority and the funding body for sixth forms about travel costs and transitional funding, a binding service level agreement and students from the Dereham high schools getting priority for admission to the Dereham site.

Students will continue to apply to Dereham Sixth Form in the normal way and they will be allocated to the campus which is best suited geographically and in terms of the subjects selected.

The new campus will be managed by Dereham Sixth Form College staff, with some teaching offered by 'appropriately qualified and experienced' teachers from Hamond's. The seven classroom building in the current 'C block' at Hamond's houses the sixth form and humanities provision and was specifically designed for as a post-16 site.

ian.clarke@archant.co.uk

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