Children’s commissioner opens expanding school’s £7m new building

Dame Rachel de Souza visiting Great Yarmouth Charter Academy to

Dame Rachel de Souza, children's commissioner for England, visiting Great Yarmouth Charter Academy to formally open the new science block. - Credit: Inspiration Trust

A multi-million pound building designed to boost pupil numbers and include a new sixth form has been opened by the Children’s Commissioner for England.

Dame Rachel de Souza, formerly head of the Inspiration Trust, which has 14 schools in Norfolk and Suffolk, returned to cut the ribbon on Great Yarmouth Charter Academy's Science Futures Building.

Dame Rachel de Souza visiting Great Yarmouth Charter Academy

Dame Rachel de Souza, children's commissioner for England, visiting Great Yarmouth Charter Academy to formally open the new science block. - Credit: Inspiration Trust

During her speech, she also announced that the academy, which is run by the trust, is soon to become the home of Sir Isaac Newton East, a STEM specialist sixth form, in partnership with Inspiration Trust’s existing Norwich-based sixth form, Sir Isaac Newton.

The £7m investment was funded by the Free Schools group and was designed to accommodate an increased pupil number, including the new sixth form, on the site. 

Classrooms at GYCA

New classrooms at Great Yarmouth Charter Academy - Credit: Great Yarmouth Charter Academy

The scheme has created a new dining space, a new science building, plus classrooms and a library.

Inspiration Trust’s current chief executive Gareth Stevens said: “The reason why this building is standing is because of all the tireless work from Rachel. Over the course of many years, she has been working towards ensuring that the children of Great Yarmouth have the best possible opportunities.”

Dame Rachel de Souza with Great Yarmouth Charter Academy principal Kevin Blakey. 

Dame Rachel de Souza, children's commissioner for England outside the new science block with principal Kevin Blakey. - Credit: Inspiration Trust


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Dame Rachel praised chair of the academy committee Ian McDonald, who previously taught at the school, as well as Great Yarmouth’s deputy mayor Adrian Thompson who also studied at the school in 1982.

She said: “I am so proud to be here to open this building because it is a step on the way to the pupils building a great future. 

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“The education you can get here can enable you to have some of the best careers out there and this is especially true as GYCA moves ever closer towards that important step of building a sixth form that will better serve the children here in building that bright future for themselves.”

new classrooms GYCA

New classrooms at the Great Yarmouth site - Credit: Great Yarmouth Charter Academy

Among the first pupils to use the new building was Chloe Ashworth, Year 11 Bentley House Leader.

“I am hoping to do all three sciences at A-level and this building will help me a lot to do that, and it will also help me decide which one I'd take at university,” she said.

“I was thinking of going to Sir Isaac Newton as they are a STEM specialist, but now they are linking, I'm interested in going here to Sir Isaac Newton East as it's easier for transport.”

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