Lowestoft schools open to welcome a brave new era of education

A NEW era in education dawned across Lowestoft this week.

As thousands of youngsters set out on a new journey in their lifetime, the first full week on the schools' calendar saw major changes implemented in the town.

With eight middle schools having closed their doors for good in July under controversial changes to the town's education system as part of Suffolk County Council's School Organisation Review (SOR), the reorganisation has meant moves have been made from the three tier primary/middle/high system to a two-tier system.

With the closures of Elm Tree, Foxborough, Gisleham, Harris, Kirkley, Lothingland in Lound, Pakefield and Roman Hill Middle Schools, this has meant that primary schools in Lowestoft have now grown in size as they take pupils from reception class to year 6.

This week has also seen Denes and Benjamin Britten High Schools utilise two of the former middle school sites, while the newly-named East Point Academy – formerly Kirkley High – also opened its doors last Friday along with the new Pakefield High School that opened last Wednesday, meaning that four high schools in Lowestoft now cater for pupils aged 11 to 16.

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Speaking about the opening at Pakefield High School, on their website, headteacher Perry Linsley said: 'What a fantastic start to the term last week! It was everything we hoped it would be.

'The pupils looked magnificent in their new uniforms and behaved impeccably from the start.

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'Our pupils really want to be here and really want to learn. They are polite, friendly and respectful and have thrown themselves into learning with energy and enthusiasm.

'They are a delight to be with and a credit to you their parents and carers.

'We will be working hard to transform our vision for success into reality, providing the highest quality standards in learning and teaching, and achieving outstanding results for our pupils from the start.

'Phase one of the new buildings will be ready by next June and I will be working hard to ensure funding for Phases two and three is acquired as early as possible,' Mr Linsley added.

The �25m Lowestoft Sixth Form Centre also opened its doors on Wednesday, adding to the provision in town. Based at Rotterdam Road, adjacent to the Lowestoft Further Education College at St Peter's Street, the new state-of-the-art complex has revolutionised post 16-education in Lowestoft.

The first wave of teenagers ventured into the stunning new surroundings at Lowestoft Sixth Form College this week, and principal Yolanda Botham, said: 'As experts in 16-19 education, its really quite an exciting time for us. It is an achievement that we are here and finally open – and this is something special,' Ms Botham admitted.

See pages 22 and 23 for a special feature on the new Lowestoft Sixth Form College.

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