Government backs University of Birmingham plans to open secondary school and sixth form

The University of Birmingham is delighted that the Government has approved its pioneering plans to found the University of Birmingham School and Sixth Form. This initiative enables the University to extend its excellent academic education to 11-18 year olds in Birmingham and continue to provide outstanding teacher training to the next generation of inspiring teachers. This will be the UK’s first University Training school outside London and one of the first university proposals approved by the Department for Education.

The new University of Birmingham School and Sixth Form school will be a free, mixed ability, co-educational state school for students aged 11-16, plus sixth formers. Although it will be located close to the University’s main campus in (south Birmingham/Edgbaston/Selly Oak) it will take in students from across the city, helping to meet the anticipated shortfall in  secondary school places across Birmingham and to play an important part in continuing to raise the quality of secondary education across the city. The city council expects that more than 2000 new, Year 7, places will be needed by 2020, including in the central and southern areas of the city.

The school will be a leading centre for teacher training and will work closely with the University’s Education department driving forward world-class research in teaching and school improvement. It will work in partnership with other schools and networks to support high-quality education across Birmingham, nationally and internationally. All teaching staff will be expected to have or be working towards a Masters level qualification, and students will benefit from a better than average staff-to-student ratio. The University currently educates 350 new teachers a year and its teacher training provision has been rated as “outstanding” by Ofsted.

Professor Edward Peck, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Social Sciences at the University of Birmingham, said, “We were overwhelmed by the response from parents to our initial proposals. They clearly recognised the need for more, free, non-selective, high-quality, academically-focused education in the city. Our ambition is to enable young people from across the Birmingham region, whatever their background, to reach their maximum potential. As well as providing an academically excellent educational experience for pupils, irrespective of ability, we will also have a significant focus on citizenship, ensuring that our pupils develop a keen sense of their role in and responsibility to society.”

There will be no entrance exams for admission to Year 7 and students will be admitted without consideration of religion, ability, disability, or social or financial background. Students with special educational needs (SEN) will benefit from the University’s expertise in SEN education.  Students will study a broad range of academic rather than vocational subjects, including three sciences and a modern language at GCSE in most instances, in order to prepare them for selective universities.

Professor David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, added, “This is a very significant time in the University’s history and ensures that we extend our commitment to our founder Joseph Chamberlain’s vision of establishing a ‘great school of universal instruction’ in Birmingham. This exciting initiative will not only enable us to share our values and have a positive impact on students from across Birmingham from as young as 11,it will also ensure that we develop the next generation of inspiring teachers for our region and the country.”

Education Secretary Michael Gove said: “Free Schools are driving up standards across the country. Now more and more groups are taking advantage of the freedoms we’ve offered to create wonderful new schools.”

The school aims to open in September 2014, taking 150 pupils into Year 7 and 140 rising to 200 into the sixth form.  

Please visit for further information.


For further information or to arrange an interview with Professor Edward Peck please contact Jo Kite on 0121 414 6681 / 07766205630 or email

Notes to Editors

  • The University of Birmingham is a truly vibrant, global community and an internationally-renowned institution. Ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 4,000 international students from nearly 150 countries.
  • The University is home to nearly 30,000 students. With more than 7,500 postgraduate students from across the world, Birmingham is one of the most popular universities for postgraduate study in the UK.
  • The University plays an integral role in the economic, social and cultural growth of local and regional communities; working closely with businesses and organisations, employing approximately 6,000 staff and providing 10,000 graduates annually.