Plans for construction giant JCB to sponsor a new academy in Staffordshire specialising in diplomas in were revealed today by the Government.
The proposed academy, announced by the Department for Children, Schools and Families has been welcomed by ministers as a way of providing a “top class education”.
Proposed to open in 2010 in a newly-refurbished Grade II listed buildings near JCB’s headquarters in Rocester, it is hoped to be a new innovation in the Government’s schools programme.
The academy will specialise in Engineering, Manufacturing and International Business diplomas for 14 to 19-year-olds, serving pupils from Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Derbyshire and Derby. It is the first academy to specialise in these areas and will not offer other lines of study, a spokeswoman said.
Students will focus on key elements including languages, maths and physics as well as extra subjects like maths for engineering.
The next-door JCB headquarters will provide work-based learning and skills.
The plans have been welcomed by Schools Minister Jim Knight who said: “Manufacturing, engineering and international business are all central to the future success of our country’s economy and it’s crucial we have the best students at every level. The way diplomas are put together means students would have the opportunity to pursue work based apprenticeships, high-level jobs or progress to university.”
Mr Knight added: “Part of JCB’s mission statement is: ‘we want to help build a better future for our children, where hard work and dedication are given their just reward’ - and these are sentiments I wholly endorse.”
Schools Secretary Ed Balls said the proposal showed the Government’s commitment to driving forward progressive education policies.
Paul Pritchard, Head of the JCB Academy Project, added: “The JCB Academy will provide a platform to regenerate engineering and manufacturing in Britain and will become a catalyst for improved provision of education across the entire region in engineering, manufacturing and business, providing young people with enhanced employability prospects.”