A turf cutting ceremony has been held to mark the start of work on the new sixth form (post-16) centre at Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS).
The £4.6 million project, which also includes a dance studio and additional changing rooms at the Fiddlers Wood Lane site, is being funded by a grant from the Learning and Skills Council.
The ceremony was performed by senior members of South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) with the assistance of four students from the school, watched by representatives from Thomas Vale Construction and Bradley Stoke Town Council (BSTC).
The symbolic first turf was cut by Cllr Shirley Holloway (Chair of SGC) and Cllr John Calway (Leader of SGC), aided by BSCS students George Baggott, Lydia Fawcett, Ed Franklin and Natalie Cox.
Building work is expected to be completed by May 2010, so that the first cohort of BSCS students can begin their post-16 education in September 2010.
The sixth form centre will cater for up to 180 students in the 16-19 age group, drawn mainly from feeder schools of BSCS, Patchway Community College and Filton High School. There will also be cooperation with other members of the Concorde Partnership, namely Castle School, Marlwood School, New Siblands Special School and Filton College.
Dave Baker, BSCS Headteacher, said:
“The school has students in all years 7-11 for the first time this September so it is both timely and appropriate that the Post 16 Centre is being built in readiness for our first students who will need it in September 2010. It is an exciting time for all involved with Bradley Stoke Community School and for the Concorde Partnership with whom we will be collaborating to provide a full range of courses for all 14-19 year olds in the local area. We are grateful to South Gloucestershire Council for their support in ensuring that the Post 16 provision is in place for next September.”
Demand for places at the new centre is expected to be high and the school admits that capacity may become an issue. That said, Mr Baker pointed out that the building is designed for two year groups, so the school will at least have a year’s grace if significantly more students stay on than has been assumed in SGC’s projections.
Local politicians attending the ceremony were keen to claim credit for the success of the long-running campaign for a sixth form in Bradley Stoke.
In a joint statement, Conservative Bradley Stoke Councillors John Ashe, Brian Hopkinson, Rob Jones and Sarah Pomfret said:
“It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were delivering our sixth form petition to all Bradley Stoke households and the response we got back from that was tremendous, which is why South Gloucestershire Council has been 100% committed to securing the necessary funding to actually deliver it in time for when the first students will need it.”
“Knowing that there is such a groundswell of local support for the new sixth form makes today’s turf-cutting ceremony that much more special.”
“It really is a huge milestone and is crucial in demonstrating our determination to ensure that Bradley Stoke students have the opportunity to continue their post-16 studies at their school if they wish, which is an opportunity that students in all the district’s other secondary schools already have.”
Jon Williams, Liberal Democrat Councillor on SGC and BSTC, told The Journal:
“Another milestone has been reached in Bradley Stoke. The proposed 6th Form at Bradley Stoke Community School has been an ambition for many people interested in the life of the town and with the turf cutting ceremony now complete the new building will soon be rising from the ground. As a Governor of the school I am obviously pleased that we will be able to offer our students the best facilities to enable them to study for and pass their A Levels. It’s great being part of a foward looking school with Head Teacher, Dave Baker and his leadership team continuing to work hard to make every aspect of the curriculum a success.”
Ben Walker (Conservative), Deputy Mayor of Bradley Stoke, commented:
“Following a tremendous amount of work undertaken by South Gloucestershire Conservatives supported by their Bradley Stoke Town Council colleagues, we are extremely pleased this project has now started thus enhancing the education prospects for the town’s young people and further enhancing the school’s facilities, making it a front runner within the district with excellent teachers and staff helping ensure the prosperity of Bradley Stoke.”
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