New Norwich school opened by boxer Jon Thaxton

Norwich boxer Jon Thaxton opened the new Locksley School in Old Lakenham yesterday.

It is based on the former South Harford Middle School site but has been renovated and extended over the last year in a �3.6m project by Norfolk County Council.

The school is specially designed for children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties who have been, or are at risk of being excluded from school.

It also looks after pupils with serious medical needs who cannot attend normal schools.

Former European and British lightweight boxing champion Mr Thaxton cut the ribbon at the school after being given a tour by one of its pupils.

He said the facilities at the school, which include a food technology classroom and rooms with the latest IT equipment, were 'absolutely fantastic'.

'The students come here and they've made some mistakes. Everyone's got to have a chance.

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'One of my biggest regrets in life was not doing well at school. I became a boxer and I did very well at that.

'If I can become a champion, why can't these students become champions in their own right?' he added.

Headteacher Des Reynolds said: 'We're a school first and foremost. We have teachers, we educate young people.

'But the young people we educate have additional challenges and have often had negative experiences of school. We go out of our way to put those negative experiences right.

'We're very lucky to have the facilities. Just as we're lucky to have the building we're lucky to have the staff team,' he added.

The school has 43 primary and middle school students on its permanent register, but also sees pupils on a temporary basis while they are assessed for placement in other schools.

There are around 120 students attending the school at any time.

Prior to moving into the new premises the school operated from various locations around the city and was known as the Central Area Pupil Referral Unit.

t Is your organisation planning an opening ceremony? Call reporter Matthew Sparkes on 01603 772439 or email