Bath state school plans to take on boarders in £3m revamp
A Bath state school is planning to take boarders as it unveils a £3 million revamp.
Beechen Cliff School has submitted plans to Bath and North East Somerset Council for a new sixth form block, science block and fitness suite as well as accommodation for 16 students and staff.
The school, which is an academy, is pushing ahead with its plans after securing additional capital funding from the Government.
Head teacher Andrew Davies said: "We're very fortunate because the school is considered very popular and successful and the Department for Education has given us quite significant capital funding for two new buildings.
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"We're going to refurbish the existing sixth form block and build an extension to give it an accommodation element which will comprise 16 individual bedrooms.
"This will provide accommodation to a number of pupils from the South West who might benefit from the standard of education available here – those with talent or potential but who are in a situation which would prevent them from putting themselves through a higher standard of education."
The the students' families would only have to pay for the accommodation.
Mr Davies could not confirm how much the school would charge pupils but said that Sexey's School at Bruton in Somerset, which also offers state boarding, charged £9,000 a year for accommodation.
He added that the school had also not decided on how the limited boarding places would be allocated but the process might involve nominations from other local education authorities in the region.
The school announced a partnership with the Suzhou Foreign Language School in the Jiangsu province in the east of China earlier this year. As part of the partnership students from China will study for their A-levels at Beechen Cliff before they go on to university in the UK, but Mr Davies said the Chinese students would stay with local families, and would not use the boarding house.
Mr Davies added: "We already have a link with China and we hope to develop this and have a small number of those students over at a time.
"As an academy we are a business and we are expected to look at how we can grow and develop that business."
The school hopes to have the new buildings ready by the start of the new academic year next September, with accommodation available from September 2014.