Update on Lowestoft’s latest high school

WORK is well under way on the first phase of Lowestoft's newest high school.

With the doors of Pakefield High School opening earlier this month, more than 370 pupils in years seven and eight are now being taught on the former Pakefield Middle School site in Kilbourn Road.

And admitting the 'pupils got off to a fantastic start,' headteacher Perry Linsley is in a buoyant mood.

'It has been a fantastic start all round – as we have started something from scratch, with new staff who are all very keen to be here,' Mr Linsley said. 'The pupils have been very well-behaved - they are all polite, hard-working and courteous and they look fantastic in their new uniforms.'

Last week, Mr Linsley expressed his delight at showing Waveney MP Peter Aldous, Suffolk County Council leader Mark Bee and Graham Newman, portfolio holder for children, schools and young people's services, around the site.

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Touring the school facilities with Mark Bailey, divisional director for Barnes Construction - who have been appointed main contractor by Suffolk County Council to build the new high school and a major extension to the primary school - the visit to check on the construction progress was hailed a success.

Suffolk-based Barnes Construction is building the new high school on the site of Pakefield Middle School, which closed at the end of July, as the County Council adopts a two-tier system for schools replacing the three-tiered former middle school system.

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The new students, aged 11 and 12, have just started in the existing middle school building and their 'Learning Model' is structured around three 100-minute lessons.

'This enables our pupils to extend their thinking and learning to a higher level and to develop the skills they need to succeed,' Mr Linsley said. 'Instead of moving around five or times a day we can now do things in 100 minutes that could potentially last a week.'

With the youngsters back in the classroom, work is continuing on the first phase of the �12m building project, which will provide the additional facilities needed as the school grows to eventually hold between 900 to 1000 students by 2014.

Mr Linsley said: 'We aim to be a specialist school for engineering and performing arts, and we want the youngsters to learn about wind turbines, offshore energy and gas and much more so they can be involved in a key industry in the future.'

Mr Linsley revealed that Pakefield High will be working with the new Lowestoft Sixth Form College, Lowestoft College and engineering companies to progress this.

In the new block, being built as part of the first phase of works, engineering rooms will be created – with sessions delivered on site, and hopefully in future with the backing of local companies.

An open evening for prospective parents will be held on Tuesday, October 4 between 4.30pm and 8.30pm. Staff and pupils will give demonstrations of teaching and learning in the current middle school buildings. There will also be a 20-minute presentation by Mr Linsley, in the main hall at 5pm, 6pm and 7pm, while pupil leaders will take groups on tours around the classes and staff will be available to answer questions.

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