Eton College, the 682-year-old elite school for the global wealthy and privileged, is teaming up with Star Academies, a multi-academy trust, to bring a satellite sixth form academy to Middlesbrough.
It will be one of three academic sixth form free schools to be run by Eton and Star in partnership in towns that need levelling up, alongside Oldham and Dudley.
The new post-16 colleges are being designed to help give young people who have done well in their GCSEs the opportunity to achieve the A-levels they need to go to Oxbridge and other elite universities.
The aim is to have Middlesbrough and the other two co-educational academies open by 2025. They will have an annual intake of 240 students and will be overseen by a joint partnership board of representatives of Eton and Star Academies.
The admissions policies – designed in conjunction with University College London’s Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities – will be developed, according to Eton and Star, to specifically target young people who would most benefit on an ongoing basis.
According to Eton and Star they will have access to some of Eton’s best teachers, its clubs and its speaker events. Eton will also help students prepare for university applications and interviews and every year students will be invited to take part in a summer residential at Eton itself.
The curriculum, according to the partners, will be a tried and tested model, based on that of the London Academy of Excellence, a school that is sending 33 students from Newham, one of the capital’s most deprived boroughs, to Oxbridge this year.
Eton says it is committed to making an ongoing financial commitment to all three new colleges in perpetuity, to ensure the development and provision of a deep and extensive curriculum offer guaranteed in the long term.
Middlesbrough, Oldham and Dudley were selected following a research and consultation exercise that identified where there was most need for a college that could stretch high achieving young people in their sixth form years, according to the partners.
Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said:
‘Eton College in Middlesbrough. It’s incredible to win the support and backing of the world’s most famous school – a phenomenal result. Thank you to Eton College and Star Academies for putting your faith in Middlesbrough and offering us your skills and resources to help boost the life chances of local youngsters – and put our town on the map.
‘Central Middlesbrough is becoming a huge magnet for education and building a better life and this new addition to our brilliant colleges and excellent university makes us stand out across the north east of England – brilliant.’
Star Academies Chief Executive Sir Hamid Patel CBE said:
‘This marks an exciting milestone in our partnership. By harnessing our combined wealth of educational and operational expertise, we are confident that our colleges will produce extraordinary, transformative outcomes, not only for their students but for the wider communities too.
‘Our mission has always been to change lives for the better and to open doors for young people to access the best opportunities, but these colleges will have a wider, positive impact throughout the communities of Dudley, Middlesbrough and Oldham. They will become anchor institutions that make a significant contribution by playing a leading role in addressing skills shortages and helping to drive up standards in education.’
Simon Henderson, Head Master of Eton, said:
‘We are delighted to be bidding to open these colleges in Dudley, Middlesbrough and Oldham. Our partnership with Star Academies is intended to ensure that the success of the project is greater than the sum of its parts. While our contexts may be different, our values are aligned and together we are committed, for the long-term, to sharing our educational vision and delivering outstanding educational opportunities to young people in these areas.’