Thetford academy’s extension helps tackle shortage of nursery places for town’s children

Thetford Mayor Denis Crawford and Norwich Road Academy principal Tracey Thurlby help to open the new

Thetford Mayor Denis Crawford and Norwich Road Academy principal Tracey Thurlby help to open the new building. Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH - Credit: Archant

A historic academy has built a brand new environmentally-friendly, hi-tech extension to help it deal with a Norfolk town's shortage of nursery places.

Thetford Mayor Denis Crawford and Norwich Road Academy principal Tracey Thurlby help to open the new

Thetford Mayor Denis Crawford and Norwich Road Academy principal Tracey Thurlby help to open the new building. Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH - Credit: Archant

Like many schools across the county, Norwich Road Academy in Thetford has faced increased demand to provide nursery education for children in the area.

But its historic building means it has only been able to provide places in the morning, leading many to parents to find nurseries elsewhere with all-day care.

However the new 135sq m extension with a large classroom, kitchenette, toilets and changing area means the school can now offer spaces throughout the day – creating 26 more full-time places for children.

And while the building has cost £200,000, governors and leading teaching staff believe it will pay for itself – because the building is so energy efficient it will have net zero running costs.

Thetford Mayor Denis Crawford and Norwich Road Academy principal Tracey Thurlby help to open the new

Thetford Mayor Denis Crawford and Norwich Road Academy principal Tracey Thurlby help to open the new building. Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH - Credit: Archant


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'We lost a lot of parents who would like to have come because we only provided half-day provision,' explained Norwich Road Academy principal Tracey Thurlby.

'This offers us 26 more places full-time.'

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She believes children who go to the nursery will have an easier transition into the academy's primary school, as the nursery prepares them the next step.

Mrs Thurlby added that it will also give many children greater stability, as they will remain with the academy throughout their early education.

Thetford mayor Denis Crawford, who helped open the new extension, said: 'For the school, this is brilliant.

'There is a shortage of places and this will help relieve the pressure.'

He praised the eco-friendly building, saying: 'This is the kind of thing that's going to be needed in the future.'

Created by Net Zero Buildings, the extension has a solar panel roof and negative carbon emissions.

Stuart Wright, governor at Norwich Road Academy – who attended the school as a child, along with several generations of his family – added: 'It has always been seen as the primary school in the town centre.

'To have investment like this reinforces that it is here for the future, not just the past.'

Have you got a South Norfolk story? Contact Andrew Papworth on 01603 773477 or email andrew.papworth@archant.co.uk

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