Education leaders have joined forces on plans for a multi-million pound sixth form centre in Bury St Edmunds to serve students across West Suffolk.
The new facility would be built on land at the back of King Edward VI School’s site and offer more than 40 ‘world class’ A-level courses to help students win places at top universities and jobs in the country’s highest performing businesses.
An application for the sixth form, due to open in September 2018, was submitted to the Department for Education this week.
It is being sponsored by the Suffolk Academies Trust - a collaboration between West Suffolk College and Suffolk One Sixth Form, in Ipswich; King Edward VI School and Samuel Ward Academies Trust, which is opening the new Sybil Andrews Academy, in Bury, in September.
They say the centre’s location would create ‘an innovative learning village’ as it is close to West Suffolk College.
Geoff Barton, head at King Edward VI, said they hope to replicate the success of Suffolk One and create a sixth form as renowned for its quality as Hills Road, in Cambridge.
He said: “Everything we believe to be essential in sixth form education can now be developed on a larger scale - including a rich range of extra-curricular opportunities in music, the arts, sport, debating and international leadership.
“In this way, students across West Suffolk will benefit from an education provision that brims with energy, ambition and a sense of mission.”
King Edward VI would move its sixth form, which currently caters for 370 students, to the new centre. Mr Barton said they could then consider increasing their pupil admission numbers for 11 to 16-year-olds as the town expands.
Meanwhile, Sybil Andrews Academy, off Lady Miriam Way, will also transfer its previously planned sixth form to the facility.
The centre would take 500 students in its first year and expand to 1,000 the following year.
Dr Nikos Savvas, chief executive of the Suffolk Academies Trust, said: “The unique and significant support already gained from sixth forms in the areas adds credibility and momentum to this exciting new project.
“We want to ensure that all 16 to 18-year-old academic students in this area benefit from world class A-level teaching.”
Howard Lay, chief executive of Samuel Ward Academies Trust, added: “The centre will signal just how collaboration and partnership can raise standards and aspirations.”
The project is also supported by Stour Valley Community School, in Clare, and Castle Manor Academy, in Haverhill.