MP to officially open new sixth form centre at Portishead school
North Somerset MP Liam Fox is to officially open the new £2.2 million sixth form centre at Gordano School on Wednesday, September 26.
Dr Fox will perform the ceremony at the Portishead school at 3pm.
The Scottish-born MP was educated at St Bride's High School in the late 1970s-80s when it was one of the largest state comprehensives in Europe before going on to read medicine at the University of Glasgow.
Previous head teacher Bob Somers, North Somerset Council director of children and young people's services, district councillors Jeremy Blatchford and John Clark, representatives of the school governors and contractors Willmott Dixon are among the other invited dignitaries.
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The new sixth form block is called the Learning Curve and caters for 460 sixth form students.
It funded by a £2 million grant from the Young People's Learning Agency Demographic Growth Fund.
Gordano, which converted to academy in July 2011 and has 1,884 students on roll, was one of a number of schools to secure a slice of £30 million to improve its post 16 education capacity.
A further £200,000 was earmarked by the school towards the costs of fitting out the building.
The centre has a lecture hall with retractable seating which is also used a drama studio and dance suite for younger students.
It has also become a rehearsal and performance space for the school's orchestra which has grown too big to practice in the music classrooms.
On the ground floor there is also office space and a sixth form study centre which is fitted with learning booths so students can work without being disturbed.
The study centre has computer ports for Mac, PCs and laptops and space for students to work and talk.
On the first floor there are four large classrooms with interactive whiteboards and seating described as 'learning pods.'
The old sixth form building, which has four classrooms and an IT room on the first floor, houses a common room and social space with a Costa coffee bar.
Previously students needing private study space were forced to use the common room and the library.
A corridor within the sixth form block has also been converted to provide additional learning space.
The sixth form is headed up this year by Jeanne Fairs who joined Gordano from Clevedon Community School.
Gordano School head teacher Gary Lewis said: "The bigger classrooms were designed to help us future proof the building and we have been careful to design and build a centre which can be flexible.
"We spent a lot of time to ensure the building looks good and I am sure it will be an asset to Portishead.
"Although Gordano converted to an academy last year we have continued to work closely with North Somerset Council on the project.
"I am so pleased that we now have a building which does what we need it to do
"We have always felt very proud of our sixth form and its achievements, but not the building we do it in.
"I feel great pride that the students, staff and local community have the building they truly deserve."