Gallery: Ipswich sixth form centre takes shape
A NEW era for learning in Suffolk is dawning.
A NEW era for learning in Suffolk is dawning.
The skyline on the southern flanks of Ipswich is today beginning to embrace the smooth contours of a landmark structure.
Springing from the ground at an unrelenting pace on land between Scrivener Drive and London Road is the county's newest educational establishment.
A unique collaboration of schools, colleges, businesses, training providers, employers and agencies, Suffolk One promises to transform learning.
The multi-million pound project is yet another feather in the county's cap following the successful launch of University Campus Suffolk two years ago.
Suffolk One will open in September next year and, at capacity, will provide learning for more than 2,000 16 to 19-year-olds from South West Ipswich and South Suffolk.
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The �60 to �70 million centre will also offer part-time sessions for up to 200 14 to16-year-olds, on a daily basis, in partnership with their home school.
Suffolk One principal Alan Whittaker is carefully putting together his management team ahead of the 2010 launch while teachers and other specialists are developing a new curriculum.
Mr Whittaker said: “We are very pleased with the progress on the build. We are working very closely with the contractors ISG Jackson.
“The build is very much on programme and on budget. It couldn't be a better time to build a new school.
“The next key date will be the completion of the shell, reinforced concrete and steel (for the sports hall) in July. The weather has also been very good for us too.
“Suffolk One is really beginning to take shape.”
Mr Whittaker said the building will be fitted with cutting edge technology to ensure Suffolk One is capable of providing a wide ranging choice of provision.
Developing the school curriculum is taking place in consultation with young people.
Mr Whittaker said: “We are going into partnership schools. This week we have been to Thurleston High School to talk to year ten pupils about what they want.
“We are working with the students and talking about the course options they will want and the other things - extra-curricular activities, the pastoral side and clubs - they want to see at the new school.
“As a partnership of schools we are working very strongly and closely together.”
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SUFFOLK One has provided a welcome shot in the arm to the county's building trade at a time when the construction industry is struggling under the weight of recession.
Ian Gifford, director of ISG Jackson's Public division, said: “The landmark Suffolk One development not only represents a major investment in regional education resource but also recognises ISG Jackson's ability to both win and successfully deliver high value projects.
“Our business is firmly rooted within the fabric of Ipswich and a large proportion of the highly-skilled workforce, currently employed on site, live locally, as do many of our supply chain partners.
“The project is undoubtedly excellent news for the local economy, bringing much-needed employment to the region and also providing opportunities for apprentices to take their first steps within the industry.
“Suffolk One's legacy will ultimately extend far beyond the building itself, helping to play a major role in the vibrancy and future success of Ipswich."
Suffolk One design:
SUFFOLK One has been designed around a central “heart space” - a three-storey circulation space, around which is the main curriculum areas, comprising clusters of three-storey concrete frame structures.
The internal design features a large two-storey pod within the heart space, with a large refectory located underneath this steel and concrete frame structure.
Suffolk One features solar water heating, rainwater harvesting and an inter-seasonal heat transfer system, which collects thermal energy from under a large bus drop off area and stores this within the ground.
The college will also feature the very latest smart card technology, with students using swipe cards to gain entry to the building and individual classrooms.
The college has been designed to encourage sustainable modes of transport and incorporates a large bus drop off area, a shared pedestrian path and cycleway, with secure bike storage across the campus.
An all-weather mixed use games area pitch will also be built, while developers will also carry out extensive landscaping of the site, including the construction of a wetland habitat area and pond.
Which schools are involved in the project?
Beacon Hill School
Chantry High School
Claydon High School
East Bergholt High School
Hadleigh High School
Holbrook High School
Stoke High School
Suffolk New College
Thomas Wolsey School
Thurleston High School
Westbourne Sports College
Westbridge Pupil Referral Unit
Suffolk One will open in September 2010 and at capacity, will provide learning for more than 2,000 16 to 19-year-olds mainly from South West Ipswich and South Suffolk.
It will also offer part-time sessions for up to 200 14 to16-year-olds, on a daily basis, in partnership with their home school.
It will offer post-16 studies, including 50 A/S and A-level subjects, a wide and diverse range of vocational courses involving 17 different lines of learning, the International Baccalaureate and specialised programmes for all abilities.
The curriculum has been planned in consultation with Suffolk New College and Otley College and this close collaboration will ensure the delivery offers clear progression routes into higher level courses and through into University Campus Suffolk.
One will be built on a 12-acre site on the edge of Ipswich at the London Road site, accessible from both A12 and A14.
There is a vocational block to the north and teaching clusters to the south, all around a central heart space, 20,185sq m in total.
Suffolk One is costing �65million, and is funded by the Learning and Skills Council.
What's in a name?
EDUCATION bosses' decision to call the venture Suffolk One raised a few eyebrows.
The facility's working title had been the SWISS centre - an acronym of South West Ipswich and South Suffolk.
However, principal Alan Whittaker revealed the new title after consultation with students.
He said: “We found it difficult to come up with an easy geographical name and we were looking for something more innovative and imaginative and something different altogether.
“We don't see what we are providing as either a school or a college - we are a hybrid.”
Mr Whittaker said a number of other names had been considered including The Academe, Town and Country, Xcel, Gold, and Spring.
He added: “Often names are really quite traditional and backward-looking and historically and geographically based. We wanted a name that looked to the future.
“Suffolk One will offer a mix of traditional A-level and vocational courses. It is unique across the UK in terms of what the college will offer students.”