£74m sixth form centre given green light

A £74 MILLION pound project to radically reform education in southern Suffolk by building a sixth form centre and scrapping post 16 classes at five schools has been given the go-ahead.

Graham Dines

A £74 MILLION pound project to radically reform education in southern Suffolk by building a sixth form centre and scrapping post 16 classes at five schools has been given the go-ahead.

The college opens in September 2010 and by 2014, it will be able to accommodate 2,200 pupils from the Shotley peninsular, Hadleigh, East Bergholt, and a large area of Ipswich.

To be known as the SWISS centre - South West Ipswich, South Suffolk - it will be built on vacant land in London Road, Copdock, which had been previously earmarked for the headquarters of the former energy giant Powergen.

Once up and running, sixth form provision will end at Chantry and Westbourne high schools in Ipswich, Claydon high school, and at Belstead and Thomas Wolsey special schools in Ipswich. It will also cater for pupils aged 16 to18 from Holbrook, Hadleigh and East Bergholt high schools,

The capital costs of the new school will be 100% funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), which will grant Suffolk County Council £68m to cover all building works, equipment, external works, landscaping and professional fees.

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Running costs will also be met by the LSC, but council taxpayers will have to pay the £6m cost of buying the land which, although owned by Ipswich Borough Council, is in the district of Babergh.

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