Fakenham Sixth Form officially opened its new facilities on 1st November 2017, following a £770,000 investment in dedicated facilities for sixth formers at Fakenham Academy Norfolk. The Sixth Form’s new look has gone down well with students, with the academy seeing a sharp increase in A-Level applications this year.
Moving the Sixth Form (formerly Fakenham College) from Wells Road to Field Lane marks a significant milestone for the academy. Whilst many staff and students have fond memories of the old College buildings, the spiralling maintenance and running costs (at around £100,000 per year) and valuable teaching hours being lost to travel between the two sites, provided a compelling case for the move.
The heart of the new Sixth Form is a former Library and Drama building which has been extensively refurbished to create a new canteen, servery and student work space along with administration offices. The Perowne building now houses 11 dedicated Sixth Form teaching spaces, all completely updated and refurbished.
The works, which have been completed in just 6 months, have also seen the creation of a new music room, textiles room and IT classroom within the CDT block, together with a new library and the refurbishment of 3 science labs in the main building.
The Sixth Form has its own separate entrance, and its teaching, social and office spaces are clearly distinct from the rest of the academy. This allows students to benefit from having their own distinctive learning environment and independent study spaces, which are important features of A-Level study.
Students were given a major input on the interior design of the Sixth Form, with a group of students working alongside LSI Architects to make 15 recommendations for the interiors, from the choice of colour schemes to lighting and other features. All 15 of their recommendations have been adopted.
Sixth Form Council member Tom Daly, 17, who is studying A-Level Physics, Chemistry and Maths, said:
“I thought it was really nice, and inclusive, for the Sixth Form Council to have had a big involvement. We chose the flooring, the colour schemes for the rooms, and it was quite interesting to see that aspect.
“I think the finished result is excellent and I am quite proud to go to Fakenham Sixth Form and in how this money has been used. Being on a single site allows us to have more time in lessons as time is not being lost moving between sites.”
Izzy Duncan, 18, who is studying A-Level Philosophy & Ethics, History and Drama, and who is also a member of the Sixth Form Council, added:
“I think it was really important for students to have this input in making the Sixth Form different from the high school. It also made the transition a lot smoother as we were able to tell other students what was going on.
“The ethos hasn’t changed. Fakenham Sixth Form is still very much a family. The teachers are supportive and we have the freedom of being a sixth form student and being encouraged to make our own decisions and of being responsible.”
The new look Sixth Form has gone down well with other students too, with the numbers starting on A-Level courses this September up by more than a third on forecasts for this year.
The extensive refurbishment has been possible thanks to the investment in the project by Fakenham Academy Norfolk’s sponsor the TEN Group (Transforming Education in Norfolk).
Matthew Parr-Burman, Principal, Fakenham Academy Norfolk, commented:
“This is an exciting time for our new-look Fakenham Sixth Form. These wonderful new facilities and resources for our students will support the continuation of our excellent track record of A-Level success.
“I am delighted by the positive and enthusiastic response that students and staff have brought to the change of site and our new Sixth Form facilities. Thanks must also go to the TEN Group for funding the project and to our Norfolk Educational Services colleagues, our architects and contractors, for ensuring that the works were completed on time and on budget.
“The completion of this project puts Fakenham Academy Norfolk as a whole in a really good position to develop our site further in the future and meet increased demand for places due to forecast demographic change.”
Fakenham Sixth Form and the TEN Group would like to thank LSI Architects, RG Carter, Fisher Bullen, Norwich Electrical Ltd, J K Brock Builders (Dereham Limited), Tecomak, Elizabeth’s Gardens, FSG Signs and Graphics, CIM Signs and Graphics, L&J Pipework, Rockwater Property Ltd, Eddie Lane Fabrication, JRN Painting and Decorating, Aaron Elfleet Painting and Decorating, M and M Flooring, Broadland Flooring Ltd, King’s and Barnhams Group, Aubrey Hawkins Ltd, AC Environmental Services Ltd, and PK Fencing Services, Anglia Partition Services and Swift Air Ventilation Ltd for all of their work on the refurbishment project.
Pictured: Members of the Sixth Form Student Council and Head of Sixth Form Lianne Higgins outside the front of the new Sixth Form facilities, Dick Palmer (TEN Group CEO) addressing guests and unveiling the commemorative plaque to mark the official opening.