• Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

North East Connected

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Students benefit from a new dedicated sixth form centre

CaptureContractors have made the finishing touches to the facility at Barnard Castle School, the culmination of four years planning and now being enjoyed for the first time by sixth formers.

Upper and lower sixth form students from across the North-East, Tees Valley and North Yorkshire are being provided with their own work and social space in a purpose-built centre that blends traditional and contemporary features.

Head of sixth form Chris Butler explained: “The aim was to develop further the sixth form as an institution with the very best facilities.  I wanted it to be an emotive, airy space, where people would draw a breath as soon as they walked through the door – I am delighted to say that is what has been achieved.”

The centre has been planned to transform quickly from formal study area to comfortable social space featuring tables for dining and booth seating for socialising.  Clever use of acoustic materials allows for individual and collaborative study and multiple activities in the same open plan space.

Emphasis has also been placed on the technological needs of modern students with Wi-Fi, PCs, USB charging sockets, electronic room booking tablets and intelligent lockers with thumbprint scanners and charging points for a range of devices.  Workspace on the mezzanine level boasts views of the ground floor and Bowes Museum next door thanks to panoramic glazing.

To boost students’ life-skills there are also three fully fitted kitchen stations, which they can use to develop culinary skills, complete with built-in ironing boards.  “They will be able to have cookery sessions and ‘Come dine with me’ evenings for their friends,” said Mr Butler. “These skills will prepare them for life in general and at university in a fun, sociable way.”

The centre is also home to the director of studies and careers staff giving students easy access to a host of invaluable advice and a venue for visiting speakers from industry, professions and higher education, as well as sessions on the psychology of behaviour, stress management and current affairs.

Mr Butler said: “This wonderful centre was designed with the help of students and is very much for the students. It is a unique private space that will complement beautifully the rest of the school.  “It enhances the student experience greatly by providing an adult learning environment similar to university and provides lower school pupils with a tantalising glimpse of what sixth form life is like.”

President of the sixth form common room Salma Ali, 16 added: “The new centre is incredible as it has every thing we could possible need to make the most of life at Barnard Castle School.”

By admin