DONCASTER’S exclusive Hill House school is starting work on a £1 million new sixth form centre.
The school, whose former pupils include television personality Jeremy Clarkson and Vicar of Dibley actress Emma Chambers, has moved the builders on site this week to start the development in Auckley, on land once occupied by the former RAF Finningley airbase.
When completed, the new building will be a three-storey centre alongside tennis courts and a wooded area.
It is designed to be in keeping with the traditional look of the main building, once the home of the RAF Finningley officers mess.
A spokesman for the school said it was developing its dedicated sixth form centre at a time when many independent schools were contracting, hit by the recession.
It will open in September, almost 100 years to the day when the school was founded on its previous site in the centre of Doncaster.
Hill House Principal David Holland said: “The governors and I are absolutely delighted that our vision of a Sixth Form is becoming reality.
“We are now able to build on our GCSE results, the best in the area, to encourage young people to widen their horizons and give them the finest education at A-level.
“We want to help and support them in their move onto university and their careers, and our sixth form centre will provide a modern, relaxed and mature setting for their studies.”
The contract for building the Sixth Form Centre has been awarded to R J Cadman Construction of Scunthorpe. The firm was responsible for the refurbishment of the former RAF Finningley Officers’ Quarters when it was bought by Hill House for the school’s new site in 2007.
Managing Director Ross Cadman said: “We are very pleased indeed to be working with Hill House again. The development of a sixth form is good news for the whole area and the centre will be a splendid base for their studies.”
It is not the only school in the borough building a sixth form centre for the first time.
Construction is currently ongoing on a similar facility at the state-run Ridgewood School in Scawsby, which has been described as a £5 million development with features including solar power generators included in the designs for the building. It is due to open in September.
In the past, pupils have left Ridgewood at 16 to take A-levels at other schools such as Hall Cross and Danum.