Get ambitious, teenagers told

EXTRA encouragement will be given to school pupils in Ipswich to go a new sixth form centre on the southern outskirts of the town when it opens in three years' time, it was confirmed today.

EXTRA encouragement will be given to school pupils in Ipswich to go a new sixth form centre on the southern outskirts of the town when it opens in three years' time, it was confirmed today.

And the message to the area's teenagers from education chiefs was blunt: “Become more ambitious!”

County council director of young people's services Rosalind Turner and cabinet member Patricia O'Brien said maintaining small sixth forms at high schools across Ipswich was not an option.

Ms Turner said: “All the research says that sixth forms need to have at least 200 students to provide the critical mass that is needed to run a wide enough range of courses.

“That is not the case with the large number of small sixth forms in the area. The schools themselves recognise that and have come forward with the proposal to develop a new sixth form centre for south and west Ipswich.”

She said the number of youngsters from south and west Ipswich who went on to higher education was just 20 per cent - compared with 54 pc across the county as a whole.

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“I know that many young people want to stay in a familiar environment, to stay at the school they know - but they really do have to show more ambition.

“We have to work to encourage more of them to find courses that are better suited to them.”

Mrs O'Brien agreed: “We have to encourage our young people to have more ambition in Suffolk. Young people in Ipswich may have to catch two buses to get to college but at least the buses are there.”

Ms Turner said education authorities would be working with transport providers to ensure the new centre was easy to access from all parts of the town.

It is due to open in 2009 - and Mrs O'Brien was confident students would like working there.

She said: “With a shiny new building, and with links between the centre and the existing high schools I am sure students will look forward to learning there.”

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