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New Bury St Edmunds special school to be named after Sir Peter Hall



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A new Bury St Edmunds special school set to open next year has been named after Sir Peter Hall, described in 2017 as ‘the most important figure in British theatre for half a century.’

The name was chosen following an informal consultation organised by Unity Schools Partnership, who will run the school.

Designed by Concertus Design and Property Consultants, the special free school, opening in September 2022, will eventually house 80 students with social, emotional and mental health needs between nine to 16.

An artist's impression of the new Sir Peter Hall School. Picture: Concertus Design and Property Consultants.
An artist's impression of the new Sir Peter Hall School. Picture: Concertus Design and Property Consultants.

Tim Coulson, chief executive of Unity Schools Partnership, said he was delighted with the new name, which has been supported by both Sir Peter’s family and the Theatre Royal.

“All our schools play an integral role in their respective communities and this new school will be no different,” he said.

“We would like to thank everyone who took part in the informal consultation and also a very big thank you to the family of Sir Peter Hall for their support.

Sir Peter Hall. Picture: Nobby Clark.
Sir Peter Hall. Picture: Nobby Clark.

“We are also indebted to the Theatre Royal for supporting us with the consultation and the new name. We look forward to working with them closely once the new school opens.”

Sir Peter, born in Bury, founded the Royal Shakespeare Company and was a theatre, opera and film director. He died in 2017 of pneumonia.

Edward Hall, his son, said the family were ‘touched and honoured’ to be having a new school named after him.

He said: “Bury St Edmunds played a very special part in my father’s upbringing and life.

“He was inspired by the Theatre Royal and believed passionately that unilateral access to education was the cornerstone of a healthy society.

"I am sure this school will serve to inspire future students in the years to come.”

Owen Calvert Lyons, director at the Theatre Royal said: “Sir Peter will forever be connected to Bury St Edmunds through the extraordinary work he did in restoring the Theatre Royal.

“We’re delighted that his legacy will now form a lasting bond between the Theatre Royal and the Sir Peter Hall School, enabling us to continue our work in transforming the lives of children growing up in our town.”

Alister Broadberry, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction’s Eastern Counties, which is the preferred main contractor for the Sir Peter Hall School, said: “We’re delighted to be involved in this project, which is going to make a real impact in the Bury St Edmunds community by providing much needed SEMH facilities.

“Special free schools such as the Sir Peter Hall School play a vital role and we’re excited to bring our expertise and knowledge of the sector to the table and help create a high quality educational facility that’s tailored to the needs of the students.”

The Sir Peter Hall School has now begun the process of recruiting for their first headteacher.

News from our universities, local primary and secondary schools including Ofsted inspections and league tables can be found here.

Read more: All the latest news from Bury St Edmunds