Wayland Community High School academy plans prove popular with pupils

Excitement is building for the future of a Watton school as an academy with staff saying there is a 'big buzz' from pupils and parents about the plans.

Michael Rose, headteacher of Wayland Community High School, said: 'We are not a failing school. We want to put something back into the community. I want to help young people move forward.'

The news that the secondary school had received academy status was announced last month and the site will be sponsored by City College Norwich.

Mr Rose added: 'The idea of the academy is to offer the opportunity for all sorts of learning at the school and city college. The kids are very excited about it.'

The school is due to open as an academy in the spring next year and will offer post-16 courses.

Currently there is no sixth form college but Mr Rose said there were plans to build a new centre, which would be unveiled early next year.

Jo Skeats, acting assistant headteacher, added: 'There is a big buzz about the potential for post-16 education.'

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Consultations with parents and students are now taking place into new uniforms and what the academy will be called, due to finish this year.

Academic, as well as more practical options will be taught at the Wayland High and City College, which already have strong links.

'I hope that the children can stay on at the college and do foundation degrees. My big concern is that a lot of people won't go to university because of the fees and City College offers a local solution.'

Paul McCann, assistant headteacher, said: 'I think the academy plans are absolutely brilliant. We have been struck by how much the students and parents care about the academy status.'

He added that the new status would allow the school to teach teenagers interested in both academic and vocational subjects.

'We are a truly comprehensive school and we need to provide for everyone in the community,' Mr McCann said.

Mr Rose added: 'It is frustrating because the government doesn't understand how difficult it is for young people in the sticks. There is such potential here.'

It is also hoped that evening classes will be held for adults and the school will work with primary schools, which feed into Wayland High.

A �2m vocational skills centre was opened at Wayland High two years ago, working in partnership with schools, colleges and businesses to offer courses in subjects such as engineering and construction, plumbing, bricklaying and carpentry for under 16s.

sophie.wyllie@archant.co.uk