Building work and preparations for the Isle’s first sixth form facility have begun.
A consultation period on the proposed sixth form unit for the South Axholme Academy has now closed, and a final decision on the matter is expected in the near future.
South Axholme’s headteacher Marie Lister said she hoped that a decision from the Department of Education might be forthcoming in early March.
The academy grounds are, however, being prepared for the arrival of 10 new modular classrooms, to be supplied by North Lincolnshire Council.
Should the bid for the sixth form prove unsuccessful at the last hurdle, then the extra space created by the sixth form ‘village’ would be welcome for general use, as conditions at the academy are quite cramped at times, said Mrs Lister.
She continued: “The work won’t create too much disruption, it is more of a minor convenience, and what we will gain if the sixth form goes ahead will be well worth this bit of upheaval.
“Fencing was erected before work started, and some trees have been cut back to allow access for vehicles. A gas main has to be re-routed and digging down for building foundations to be placed.”
A small part of the front school yard has been taken up for access, she added, and one tennis court is out of action.
The new classrooms will be placed between the academy and the adjacent Epworth Leisure Centre.
It is hoped the groundwork will be completed over the half-term period, to allow for cranes to move on site in the first week of April, to offload the modular units.
The expectancy is that work will be completed within 16 weeks, depending on a number of variables, including the weather, added the Head.
Some concerns about the future structure of the proposed sixth form were raised at a recent Epworth town council meeting.
Councillors who have been involved in education spoke of the need for more information.
They were concerned about the scope for subject options that will be offered to students, and whether new staff will be appointed who are qualified to teach at sixth form level.
Students from the Isle currently travel to Scunthorpe, Gainsborough or Doncaster to pursue sixth form studies. The plan for the new sixth form at South Axholme is to start small with about 60 students then work up to 200, or maybe more in the future.
Town councillors were keen to know if students would still be able to travel further afield if necessary.