REVEALED: Early concept plans for £30million Bury St Edmunds sixth form centre

An external view from the front of the building. All concept plans are subject to planning permissio

An external view from the front of the building. All concept plans are subject to planning permission. Picture: SUFFOLK ACADEMIES TRUST - Credit: SUFFOLK ACADEMIES TRUST

Early concept plans have been unveiled for a brand new multi-million pound sixth form centre due to open in Bury St Edmunds next year.

A view of the college dining hall. Picture: SUFFOLK ACADEMIES TRUST

A view of the college dining hall. Picture: SUFFOLK ACADEMIES TRUST - Credit: SUFFOLK ACADEMIES TRUST

Abbeygate Sixth Form College, led by newly appointed principal David Gartland, will be situated near King Edward VI School opposite the council offices and West Suffolk College.

The £30million centre is expected to accept its first students in September 2019, and will be West Suffolk’s first, and only, purpose built sixth form college.

An view of the college entrance. Picture: SUFFOLK ACADEMIES TRUST

An view of the college entrance. Picture: SUFFOLK ACADEMIES TRUST - Credit: SUFFOLK ACADEMIES TRUST

The concept plans show a large modern-style build with bright yellow features, balcony and dining hall.

Mr Gartland was previously principal of Lowestoft Sixth Form College, which ranked as the highest performing sixth form college in the country, according to the Department for Education.

David Gartland, the newly appointed principal of Abbeygate Sixth Form College. Picture: WEST SUFFOLK

David Gartland, the newly appointed principal of Abbeygate Sixth Form College. Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COLLEGE - Credit: WEST SUFFOLK COLLEGE


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Spaking about his vision for the college, he said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be taking on the role of principal at Abbeygate. There is a real drive in the area for it to be a success. It is a partnership project in the true sense of the word, with a range of educational professionals working together to provide a new sixth form college to serve the community. That is a great environment to start from and work in.

“I want parents and students to know that Abbeygate Sixth Form College will become part of this community and all connected will have the opportunity to shape its culture. But mostly I just want parents and students to know that we will offer high quality teaching and high quality support, so every young person who comes through our doors has the chance to do their best.”

An external view of the building. Picture: SUFFOLK ACADEMIES TRUST

An external view of the building. Picture: SUFFOLK ACADEMIES TRUST - Credit: SUFFOLK ACADEMIES TRUST

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He added: “The opportunity to set up a new college from scratch was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. I’ve been lucky to have already had that experience with Lowestoft, so I know the positives as well as the challenges and I hope to bring all I’ve learnt with me. But I have lived and breathed Lowestoft Sixth Form College and it will always have a special place in my heart.”

Building work on the multi-million pound centre will start this year and the sixth form will offer in the region of 40 A-levels as well as a number of enrichment and extra-curricular activities.

A view of the balcony inside the building. Picture: SUFFOLK ACADEMIES TRUST

A view of the balcony inside the building. Picture: SUFFOLK ACADEMIES TRUST - Credit: SUFFOLK ACADEMIES TRUST

It will be run by the Suffolk Academies Trust – a collaboration between West Suffolk College and Suffolk One – as well as the Samuel Ward Academies Trust and King Edward VI School.

Mr Gartland said his love for teaching was inspired by his own sixth form experience.

The college courtyard. Picture: SUFFOLK ACADEMIES TRUST

The college courtyard. Picture: SUFFOLK ACADEMIES TRUST - Credit: SUFFOLK ACADEMIES TRUST

“One of the teachers in particular showed me how great teaching could be as a profession and right from the start I loved it,” he said. “Watching a young person get something or argue with you about a subject because they are so engaged is the best feeling in the world.

“I genuinely love working in sixth form colleges. I’ve seen the transformational power they have for social mobility, and the opportunity to help people achieve their potential.”

Dr Nikos Savvas, West Suffolk College Principal and Suffolk Academies Trust CEO said, “We are delighted that David will be taking up this role. He comes with a wealth of experience and an impressive track record in inspiring exceptional academic success. I know Abbeygate Sixth Form College will be outstanding under his leadership and vision”.

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