We’re raring to start learning at City Academy Norwich

Children who will be among the first to attend the new-look City Academy Norwich told of their excitement as they took centre stage for a ceremonial turf-cutting to launch the �21m building project.

The year five youngsters from nearby West Earlham Junior School did the honours at the start of the 18-month project.

The academy building will replace the former Earlham High School. City Academy Norwich opened in the old buildings in September 2009.

Unlike the current complex, which fronts Earlham Road, the new academy will be built on playing fields behind the school and will have its entrance from Bluebell Road.

Yesterday, the West Earlham Junior pupils looked forward with eagerness to the completion of the project.

Cain Armes-Timbers, nine, said: 'It will be really good fun to go there. There will be lots for us to do.'

Sasha Lee, nine, said: 'It's exciting. It will be a huge place, and I think it will feel nice to be there.'

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Guests were present from the academy's lead sponsor, City College Norwich, and co-sponsors the University of East Anglia, Norwich School and Norfolk County Council.

Work has already begun, with the playing field being stripped of grass and contractor Kier Eastern beginning the long process of making the plans become a reality.

Academy principal David Brunton said: 'It's amazing for me to see the work starting.

'We've been on the theoretical side for a while now; the project has been up and down.

'We've not always been sure we were going to get the new building.

'If we haven't got it now, we've got major problems putting the playing field back as it was.'

He added: 'It's been fantastic for me personally and great for the youngsters to watch things taking shape. There's been a lot of hard work from the governors, the teaching team and the youngsters involved in the design process.'

Bert Bremner, a Norfolk county councillor and Norwich city councillor for University ward, which includes City Academy Norwich, said: 'It's wonderful to see this investment in local children. This will make them feel cared for: it's going to make such a difference. Their working environment will be fabulous.'

Do you have an education story? Call Steve Downes on 01263 513920 or email steve.downes@archant.co.uk