The old town hall in Burslem will soon be given a new lease of life as a centre for learning in the heart of the Mother Town.
Work has begun in readiness for our new Haywood Sixth Form Academy, which opens its doors to students in September.
Burslem’s grade II* listed hall dates back to 1857 and has been empty since the Ceramica pottery museum closed in 2011. Now, the disused building will be transformed into a thriving sixth form college where young people will be inspired and offered first class support to help them succeed and progress into university, apprenticeships or work.
Carl Ward, Executive Headteacher, said: “Through an exciting partnership with Steelite International and the support of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, the new sixth form will be housed in a £2.1m development.
“The work now underway is a full refurbishment of the beautiful old town hall in readiness for our first sixth form students in September.”
The refurbished Town Hall will house classrooms, workspaces, an IT-based learning support centre, a library and break out zones for informal study.
The main entrance hall containing the existing grand staircase will be home to the main reception and the ground floor will also house classrooms and the Haywood Sixth Form Academy support functions.
The works to the first and mezzanine floors will largely entail the clearance of the exhibition sets and partitioning, replacing them with a simple classroom pod.
The existing Ceramica building will be demolished over the summer to create a public space. A second phase of building work will take place in 2016 which will see a new build extension of Haywood Sixth Form Academy behind the site of the former Ceramica building with a further 10 classrooms.
Kevin Oakes, Chief Executive of Steelite International, said: “We have a long association with Haywood Academy and are absolutely delighted to be part of its future by sponsoring this project. From a company and industry perspective, as a world leader, we need young people coming into the organisation with the right skills, knowledge and the right aptitude.
“Anything we can do to support local education and to foster good relationships between education and industry is vitally important. Stoke-on-Trent’s ceramics industry is undergoing a renaissance and we must build for the future.
“A thriving Burslem town centre is vitally important to Steelite International – we’re fiercely proud of the town’s famous heritage. By locating the Haywood Sixth Form Academy in the old town hall we will help increase footfall in the town and, I am certain, boost its economy.”
A spokesman for the city council said: “This is a significant investment in Burslem. Not only will it bring an iconic building back into use, it will also provide the accommodation Haywood Academy needs to expand its recent track record of academic excellence.
“On top of this is the extra footfall it will bring to the town from staff and students, giving local businesses a significant boost and helping to attract further new investment.
“We have worked closely with our partners at the academy to make these plans a reality. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved and we are looking forward to work getting under way.”
Students can apply for a place on a variety of A Level and BTEC courses or the new Work Based Learning programme here or get in touch by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.