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New university technical college proposed for city
GCSE students and sixth formers in Salisbury could have more education choices by 2014 if plans for an innovative new school get the go ahead.
A week after a group of parents announced their plans to create a new sixth form college under the free school initiative, a bid is also being drawn up to create a new school for 14-18 year-olds interested in science and engineering careers.
The University Technical Colleges (UTC) initiative aims to give children a range of GCSEs and A-levels, but also intensive and high quality education focused on scientific and engineering challenges faced by defence industry organisations.
Project manager Gordon Aitken said: “The key reason we are doing it is to expand the range of choice available for young people in the area. Salisbury already has some good schools and sixth form colleges but what we are trying to offer is something very different.”
The bid, which must be submitted by November 16, already has the backing of Wiltshire Council, 43 Wessex Brigade, top science and engineering employers at Porton Down, the University of Southampton and Wiltshire College.
Mr Aitken said they have spoken to a number of local employers and found there is a real need for a pathway that young people can take into science and engineering jobs.
With students attending from 9am-5pm and for 40 weeks a year they will get an extra 900 hours teaching compared to mainstream schools.
A decision will be made by March next year and if approved the UTC would open in September 2014. A site hasn’t been chosen yet but would be somewhere central in the city with good access to public transport as it is anticipated only 20 per cent of the students would come from Salisbury with others travelling from neighbouring towns and cities to attend.
A website with information has been set up where parents, potential students and employers can give their views and keep up with the proposal’s progress. Visit wiltshire-utc.co.uk.