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New year 11 common room

PUBLISHED: 15:00 08 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:52 06 July 2010

Benjamin Britten High School pupils and staff in the new common room. Picture: ANDY DARNELL

Benjamin Britten High School pupils and staff in the new common room. Picture: ANDY DARNELL

YEAR 11 students at Benjamin Britten High School kicked back and relaxed this week as their return to school was made all the more comfortable with the opening of a new common room.

YEAR 11 students at Benjamin Britten High School kicked back and relaxed this week as their return to school was made all the more comfortable with the opening of a new common room.

Complete with sofas, bean bags and tables and chairs, the new room and adjacent careers centre were unveiled on Tuesday as the pupils made themselves at home in a newly refurbished addition to the school.

The unusual idea of providing a common room for year 11 pupils was first conceived a year ago through the close link between the student union and teaching staff.

The pupils wanted an area to relax during break and lunch times, and a committee of 25 students was formed to help drive the project. Together they have helped to create the room, set a list of rules to abide by and establish a cleaning rota.

Headteacher Trevor Osborne said: “It is an exercise in social responsibility. They asked for the social space, so for them to run and control it gives them a greater awareness and responsibility.”

The enthusiastic committee was guided by teacher Neil Ketteringham and careers advisor Glynis Sinclair, as the pupils created the room they wanted.

Mr Ketteringham said: “They were their own ideas. They met in their own lunch times and we guided them. There was nothing directed or imposed on to them.”

The committee hopes that the area will become more than just a space to unwind or do homework. Among the ideas for the future include inviting younger children in for a breakfast club, holding parties or gigs.

Alongside the bright new common room is a dedicated new careers area, with seven computers allowing for individual or group sessions.

All pupils at the school from year nine onwards are given the opportunity to speak with careers adviser Glynis Sinclair, but it is hoped that the centre's position next-door to the common room will provide more opportunities for informal sessions for the year 11 students.

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