Costing £1.9 million, it took just over a year to build and is currently being used by pupils who previously would have left the school once they reached the age of 16.
There are 16 children being taught in the new facility and Head Teacher, Clare Steel said the Centre has enough room to be able to expand in the future. Children are now being referred to the Post 16 Centre from all over the county.
Mrs Steel said, “The building is so beautiful. It’s everything we hoped it would be. The aim is to build up the confidence for the pupils to get back into a more mainstream environment, such as college or training. It’s like a bridging setting for them. The vision for the Post-16 Centre was something that became clear when I came here 11 years ago.”
The opening of the Sixth Form is the latest upward turn in the remarkable story of the special school which bounced back after nearly closing in the 2000’s. It was almost shut down between 2004 and 2006 by the County Council as part of a plan to integrate children with moderate learning difficulties into mainstream education but partly due to a campaign from those bitterly opposed to the move, the Authority changed its mind. Since then the school has been transformed.
In 2013, it celebrated the completion of a £5.7 million revamp. Now staff and pupils are rejoicing at the new Sixth Form having been added to the Ashchurch Road site which is next to Tewkesbury School. Facilities include an ICT suite, a large common room, three classroom spaces and break-out rooms for smaller groups. There is also a small gymnasium.
Mrs Steel added, “I’m absolutely thrilled to bits. It’s an incredible building. It complements the main building. Anybody can see that it’s one school but there are subtle differences in terms of colour and furniture that make it a much more adult place.”
Andy Staite, Surveyor at E G Carter & Co Ltd and a parent at Alderman Knight School said, "The design and construction of the new Centre was carefully planned to ensure the building blended in with the main school building. Our working relationship with all parties has helped this project become what it is today, a success. It has been a pleasure from start to finish; we have been able to work alongside students and teachers to ensure they get the most out of this Centre. On a personal level, it has been great to work on a scheme which my son will hopefully benefit from in a few years.”