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Detailed plans for new high school

PUBLISHED: 14:43 13 September 2008 | UPDATED: 21:16 05 July 2010

DETAILED proposals for a new 900-pupil high school for Lowestoft were revealed yesterday as the town prepares for a major shake-up of its education system.

DETAILED proposals for a new 900-pupil high school for Lowestoft were revealed yesterday as the town prepares for a major shake-up of its education system.

Suffolk County Council has submitted an application to build the £26.5m school on the site of Pakefield Middle School, which is to close as part of a move to a two-tier system in Lowestoft.

Under the plans, 540 high school pupils would move into the existing Pakefield Middle classrooms in September 2011, with expansion work then nearly doubling the intake.

The county council voted through its proposals to reorganise Suffolk schools earlier this year and has now issued a statutory notice confirming the plan. The main plank is the abolition of middle schools, which will happen in Lowestoft from 2011.

The construction of a new high school to serve south Lowestoft was opened up to competition, but the only entry was from the county council.

There will now be a period of public consultation until October 24 before the independent Schools' Adjudicator makes a decision by the end of the year. The project will be largely funded by the government's Building Schools for the Future initiative.

The process comes against the backdrop of the local government review, which could see Lowestoft governed by a new unitary Norfolk council, but a Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “Whatever decisions are made by the boundary committee will not alter the need to raise levels of achievement of young people…”

The new school will have foundation status and join the newly-formed Lowestoft Learning Trust, which has revealed plans to open a new sixth form centre next to Lowestoft College, replacing post-16 services at the town's other high schools.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Teachers has urged education officials to reassure middle school staff about their futures.

Lowestoft branch secretary Peter Byatt said: “We've got some fantastic middle staff and we don't want to lose them.”

The Suffolk County Council spokesman said a staffing protocol had been developed and a training programme was in place to enable middle school teachers to find new jobs.

A public meeting to discuss the plans for a new high school will be held at Pakefield Middle School, in Kilbourn Road, from 7pm on September 23.

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