Former sixth form site could serve children with special needs

The former Fakenham College site. Picture: Ian Burt

The former Fakenham College site. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A former Fakenham College site could be turned into a facility for children with special educational needs.

Richard Evans, principal of Fakenham Academy Norfolk. Picture: Norfolk Educational Services

Richard Evans, principal of Fakenham Academy Norfolk. Picture: Norfolk Educational Services - Credit: Archant

The Wells Road site has now passed back into the ownership of Norfolk County Council, following Fakenham Academy’s move into new sixth form facilities in Field Lane in September 2017.

There has long been speculation about what would happen to the Wells Road property, with housing or a swimming pool being mooted as potential uses.

But a council spokesman said the site - which was leased by the academy - could continue be used for education.

The spokesman said: “Whenever a school site returns back to Norfolk County Council, we look very carefully to see whether the land and buildings can continue to be used for educational purposes.

“We will particularly be focusing on considering whether this site might be able to effectively deliver much-needed additional provision for children with special educational needs in the county.

“We will also be taking over maintenance and security of the site.”

The academy’s sixth formers have now settled into the Field Lane campus, which its sponsor, the Ten Group, refurbished at a cost of £770,000.

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Richard Evans, principal, said he was delighted with how the move had panned out. He said: “The relocation of Fakenham Sixth Form to modern, refurbished facilities on Field Lane has gone exceptionally well.

“Students and staff have thrived in their new learning environment, we’ve seen demand for places in the sixth form increase, and we’re no longer wasting precious time and resources travelling between and maintaining two sites.

“The transfer of the Fakenham College site back to Norfolk County Council is a key milestone in the development of our academy.”

Mr Evans said the academy had created a record of the life and times of the Wells Road site when it was used as a college so its memory could be preserved for the future.

He said: “We recognise that the Wells Road site holds many fond memories for generations of former students and staff.

“We have created a photographic record of the history contained within the Fakenham College buildings, to preserve for the future and have as an ongoing display in the academy.”