The multi-million pound revamp of Thurston Community College is the ‘dawn of a new era in education’ in the area, according to principal Helen Wilson.
The school has just welcomed its first ever intake of Year 7 and 8 pupils at its refurbished site in Thurston, while sixth form students have just moved to their new campus at the former Beyton Middle School site.
As a result of the expansion, 930 new pupils started at the school this year.
Mrs Wilson said it had been quite a challenge getting the school ready for the start of term.
She said: “This is the dawn of a new era in education in this part of Suffolk.
“We have seen three middle schools close in the area so have three year groups starting here simultaneously.
“We now offer more than 25 GCSE courses, so have had to develop specialist facilties for these classes.
“It has been a challenge but I am very of proud of what we have achieved.”
New science labs, music rooms, design technology workshops, english and maths suites, IT rooms and a new reception have been created at the Thurston site with the old sixth form building turned into a humanities block.
Year 7 pupil Rebecca Mayers said she was happy at her new school.
“I like the teachers here and the new food rooms – they look like the kitchens in Masterchef,” she said.
Mrs Wilson said she had interviewed more than 300 people in recruiting new staff and teachers including many from the closed middle schools in the area.
The new Beyton campus has been redecorated throughout with a social hub created for students to hang out. The building’s top floor has also been transformed into a university-style study space.