New school to be decided next year

DESPITE it being “unlikely” that a completely new site will be found for Felixstowe's £40 million-plus super school, community leaders are to be asked to take a fresh look at land around the town.

DESPITE it being “unlikely” that a completely new site will be found for Felixstowe's £40 million-plus super school, community leaders are to be asked to take a fresh look at land around the town.

Head teachers of both Orwell and Deben high schools are in favour of their schools being closed and one new school being built.

But that would mean a new school being built in the grounds of Orwell, which has the available land, while governors at Deben would rather there was a fresh start for education in the town with a new school on a new site.

Consultation on the project finished this week and Suffolk County Council's cabinet meets in January to decide on the project.

Parents have been split on the scheme. Towards the end of the consultation, 44 per cent were still in favour of rejecting a new school - and keeping Deben and Orwell as they are.

Deben High head Rob Cawley said although it was felt “unlikely” a new site for the new school could be found, the school was still keen to have the option fully explored.

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“The governors and I have submitted a letter to the county Building Schools for the Future team reaffirming our wish to have a new site considered by the cabinet when they discuss the results of the consultation at their meeting on January 13,” he said.

“We also restated our desire for 'one school on one site'.”

The school's senior leadership team and governing body believes one school will give pupils access a greater range of courses, and a school big enough to compete with larger schools in surrounding towns, encouraging students to stay in Felixstowe for their education, especially sixth form.

A new school on a new site would enable access problems to be dealt with, and also Deben and Orwell to continue to work together as equal partners in the creation of something visionary for the future of education in the town.

Orwell High head Peter Tomkins favours a single site school for 1,850 students aged 11 to 19, rather than the suggestion in one option that Deben could used as a sixth-form centre for up to 350 students aged 16 to 19.

The project will create a purpose-built school tailored to future learning and teaching methods, and Deben's Langley Avenue playing fields would be sold off for housing and the whole site sold if a single-site was agreed.

Should Felixstowe have one huge high school? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk