Saturday, 31 July 2021

Sixth-form centre with cafe for 2018-style of learning

SHIPLAKE College has submitted a planning application for a new £750,000 sixth-form centre, writes David White.

The two-storey building would comprise two classrooms and two seminar rooms on the first floor and a ground floor café with an outdoor decked area.

It would be built opposite the John Turner building, a £4.3million arts block which opened in 2014, and work could start this summer and be completed before the end of the year.

It has been designed by award-winning architects Nichols Brown Webber, of Northend. The application says: “The college is continuously striving to improve its sixth-form provision to ensure that students receive the best experience and outcomes in a highly competitive market.

“The additional teaching rooms and breakout spaces will provide a dedicated hub for economics or psychology, enhancing the student experience and helping the college to maintain its broad curriculum.

“The sixth-formers do not currently have a central common room and they tend to use their individual studies. In order to maintain a strong sixth form and to compete with similar schools, the college felt it important to provide a small café that would act as a common room/meeting space between lessons. This room will also double up as a study space during study periods.

“The location near the playing field would allow the café to be used by parents watching sports matches at weekends.”

The café would be fitted out with leather seats arranged as booths with tables.

Headmaster Gregg Davies said: “What I’m passionate about is trying to find the right type of learning for 2018 pupils, not 1978 or 1998 pupils. That’s the idea behind this café.

“Going through Henley at the Market Place crossroads, where you have got Starbucks on one corner and what used to be Maison Blanc on the other, if you stop there you will see how young people learn.

“They are having coffee on their laptop and most of them are learning, or doing business.”

South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, is due to make a decision by March 1.

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