The Government has approved funding to build a new multi-million pound school in Bury St Edmunds specialising in science, technology, engineering and maths.
The Bury St Edmunds STEM Academy for 13 to 18-year-olds will be part of the Bury St Edmunds All-Through Trust and open in September 2019.
It will be built on the site of the trust’s Westley campus, in Oliver Road, in addition to a new sports hall for pupils in the trust’s middle phase (nine to 13-year-olds) and students at the academy.
The STEM Academy aims to offer a more practical hands-on approach for students to gain GCSE, A-level and equivalent qualifications.
Vicky Neale, lead head of the trust, said: “There are students of all abilities who enjoy a traditional academic approach whereas other students who are equally talented much prefer to learn the same information by a practical approach. The English education system has consistently not served that second group well. Their ability to do well at GCSE is evident but we do not enable them to demonstrate it fully, as they do in many other parts of the world.”
She said they were delighted the academy would open in a new building and confident that many students would benefit from having a choice of pathway from aged 13.
The STEM Academy will be supported by the University of East Anglia and 17 international companies with local bases, including Bosch, British Sugar, Marshall, Microsoft, BT, EDF Energy, Rolls-Royce, Treatt and Newmarket Equine Hospital.
Mrs Neale said: “They will come in and work with staff on the curriculum and work with students. They will offer work experience and they will, as the students get older, mentor them ready to take them into their companies at 18 for a higher apprenticeship or at 21 having sponsored them through university.”
Next year, the trust’s County Upper School, in Beeton’s Way, will take on a bigger sixth form with a proportion of students following the STEM pathway in preparation for the opening of the new academy, which will be able to accommodate upto 530 pupils. In 2019, 110 students could be admitted into Year 9 and 100 into Year 12.
Companies are today due to bid for the contract to design and build the academy.