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Shrewsbury Sixth Form College to take over Wakeman School site

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Shrewsbury Sixth Form College will take over the site of the Wakeman School when the secondary closes this summer, it was confirmed today.

Talks have been taking place since last year and the transfer has finally been given the go-ahead by Shropshire Council.

In exchange, the council will be handed the college's study centre in St Austin's Street and part of the adjacent Tannery car park.

Council bosses said the study centre would be used as a training and meeting venue for workers in education, business support and skills development.

The Wakeman is being closed this summer by the authority as part of its schools reorganisation programme, despite an extensive campaign by parents, pupils and teachers to try and save it.

In November 2011, independent school adjudicator Canon Richard Lindley backed the council's decision to shut the school.

Under the deal the Wakeman, which sits on the banks of the River Severn in Abbey Foregate, will come under the college's ownership from September.

The deal is subject to approval from the Secretary of State for Education.

Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council's cabinet member for education and skills, said: "The decision to close the Wakeman School and Arts College, while extremely difficult to make, was the right decision for the future of education in Shropshire."

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Martin Ward, principal of Shrewsbury Sixth Form College, said: "The existing Priory Road site will specialise in mathematics, science, technology and professional studies, whilst the new Wakeman site will concentrate on creative and performing arts, English, sport and social sciences," he said.

Andy Rayment, chairman of governors at The Wakeman, said the decision left with him with mixed feelings.

"We did all we could to try and keep the school open and lost the battle. I'm pleased it is going to be used for education for the town and the county."

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