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Sixth-form centre plan backed

PUBLISHED: 10:25 04 December 2008 | UPDATED: 21:56 05 July 2010

Major plans to build a £28m sixth form college for up to 1,000 students in Lowestoft have been approved by education bosses.

The bid to revolutionise post-16 education in the town has been designed to give youngsters greater choice at a new purpose-built centre in the grounds of the existing Lowestoft College.

Major plans to build a £28m sixth form college for up to 1,000 students in Lowestoft have been approved by education bosses.

The bid to revolutionise post-16 education in the town has been designed to give youngsters greater choice at a new purpose-built centre in the grounds of the existing Lowestoft College.

The newly-formed Lowestoft Learning Trust submitted the proposals as part of a competition organised by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and the new college is on schedule to open in September 2011.

It will replace the sixth forms at Lowestoft's three high schools as part of Suffolk County Council's shake-up of education, which will also see middle schools closed.

Judith Mobbs, area director for the LSC in Suffolk, said the organisation's regional board gave its backing to the plans at a meeting on Tuesday.

She added: “The proposal for a new sixth form college gained unanimous support from the stakeholder panel, which said the proposal showed a strong vision and was an aspirational plan that would have a positive impact on education in the town.

“This is extremely good news for Lowestoft and the new college will offer young people in the town a greater choice of learning opportunities, making it easier and more attractive for them to continue their learning in Lowestoft.”

The new sixth form centre, given a provisional name of East.6, will work closely with Lowestoft College to give students a greater curriculum choice, including the ability to mix academic and vocational subjects.

While the Lowestoft Learning Trust was the only organisation to enter the competition, Mrs Mobbs insisted the plans would have been thrown out if they had failed to meet the required standards.

The trust, which includes Suffolk County Council, Lowestoft's three high schools and Adnams brewery, must now apply to the LSC for funding and will receive priority treatment by virtue of its success in the competition. The application will also have to receive planning consent before work starts.

Mrs Mobbs added: “The new college will transform the way young people learn in the town and will also boost Lowestoft's economic and social development.”

Lowestoft College has also embarked on a £50m redevelopment of its campus and the new sixth form centre would be sited off Rotterdam Road, near the Water Lane sports centre.

Sally Simpkin, area director for children and young people's services at Suffolk County Council, said: “The Lowestoft Learning Trust is delighted that the Learning and Skills Council has backed our proposal to transform opportunities for young people in the town.

“The new dedicated post-16 facilities will create an exciting environment with high aspirations and expectations. It will allow more choice of courses for young people and provide more extra curricular activities.”

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