A SUNDERLAND school now has the final piece of the jigsaw to create the city’s only sixth form outside a college or faith school.
Southmoor Academy has been given the go-ahead to transform the school’s former technology block ready for students to arrive next September.
The school announced in April that the Department of Education had given its permission for the Ryhope Road school to open a sixth form.
Until now, the only option for Sunderland pupils, wishing to study for their A-levels in state education, would be to go to Sunderland College or a faith school.
Now planners at Sunderland City Council have given their approval for the building works to start.
The new sixth form facilities will have its own entrance and reception area, to create its own identity, setting it apart from the rest of the school.
The centre will feature an IT suite, flexible study area, coffee shop and a head of sixth form office.
The ICT facilities will include wireless access throughout for tablet computers which will be used by pupils.
The coffee shop will have a large feature window and the exterior will be brought up to date to match work already carried out to the rest of the campus.
The post-16 facility will be available for all current students who achieve the necessary grades at GCSE and will also provide places for up to 30 teenagers from other schools across the city.
Southmoor Academy’s principal, Dr Phil Ingram, said: “We really want to create an environment where young people can learn to mature into adults and part of this involves providing them with accommodation for their sixth form which shows that we really value them and want them here.
“The new facilities will really raise the self-esteem of our young people and promote their learning, but more than this we really want them to take ownership, so we will be asking them to take an active part in the management and running of their own sixth form.”
The school will hold an open evening from 6.30pm on Thursday, December 12, for anyone interested in what the new sixth form will have to offer.