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New primary school will be first of its kind in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 15:49 12 February 2020 | UPDATED: 08:43 13 February 2020

Artist's impression of the new Wymondham College Prep School. The Sapientia Education Trust, which is sponsoring the school, has had to delay the opening of its boarding provision. Picture: LSI/Morgan Sindall

Artist's impression of the new Wymondham College Prep School. The Sapientia Education Trust, which is sponsoring the school, has had to delay the opening of its boarding provision. Picture: LSI/Morgan Sindall

LSI/Morgan Sindall

A new state primary boarding school in Norfolk - set to be the first of its kind - has been given the go-ahead by councillors.

Alex Wilson has been announced as the founding headteacher for Wymondham College Prep School. Picture: Sapientia Education TrustAlex Wilson has been announced as the founding headteacher for Wymondham College Prep School. Picture: Sapientia Education Trust

Plans for the new Wymondham College Prep school, which said it would be the first in the country to offer boarding places to pupils aged 8-11, were submitted to South Norfolk Council in August.

And at a planning committee meeting on Wednesday, February 12, councillors voted unanimously in favour of the school being built.

The application was discussed last month, when the decision on the school was deferred due to concerns over a trod path on the site and road safety issues.

But planning officer Blanaid Skipper told councillors the Highways Authority was satisfied with the school's clarifications.

Artist's impression of the new Wymondham College Prep School. The Sapientia Education Trust, which is sponsoring the school, has had to delay the opening of its boarding provision. Picture: LSI/Morgan SindallArtist's impression of the new Wymondham College Prep School. The Sapientia Education Trust, which is sponsoring the school, has had to delay the opening of its boarding provision. Picture: LSI/Morgan Sindall

Sapientia Education Trust (SET), which is behind the school, plans to offer 452 day places and 32 boarding places, at the site on the Wymondham College campus, on Golf Links Road, Morley St Peter.

READ MORE: Plans submitted for 'unique' rural school

Julie Taylor, project lead, said: "We'd like to reassure you that we take the safety of our children extremely seriously.

"There have been no accidents in the last 13 years on Golf Links Road involving our children."

Artist's impression of the new Wymondham College Prep School. The Sapientia Education Trust, which is sponsoring the school, has had to delay the opening of its boarding provision. Picture: LSI/Morgan SindallArtist's impression of the new Wymondham College Prep School. The Sapientia Education Trust, which is sponsoring the school, has had to delay the opening of its boarding provision. Picture: LSI/Morgan Sindall

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She added that the trust had worked with the parish council, and said: "We are fully committed to this project. We believe the educational value far outweighs any concerns. It would bring huge benefit to the local community."

READ MORE: School is converting old war hospital into on-site museum

The project is expected to cost £9m and create 46 full-time jobs and comes after Norfolk County Council identified a need for two new primary schools in the area.

A report in The Sunday Times said the school would be run "in a homely style", with "teddy bears in dormitories, tuck boxes at tea-time, bedtime stories and Mabel, a golden Labrador, to cuddle if children get homesick".

Parents will be charged £11,000 a year for pupils' accommodation and food - which is roughly a third of school fees in the private sector.

READ MORE: State boarding school is still outstanding, inspectors say

SET chief executive Jonathan Taylor said: "We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to provide this exciting new school for the local community.

"We are determined to provide a world-class education for local children through the prep school, and excellent boarding provision for year five and six pupils."

Alex Wilson, who will take over as headteacher in April, said he was looking forward to seeing the plans come to life, and added: "This is such a wonderful project to be involved with."

READ MORE: Norfolk school reveals its first headteacher


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