Education Secretary opens pioneering School

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan MP visited the new University of Birmingham School today (Thursday) to meet pupils and teachers and declare the School officially open.

Mrs Morgan also toured the ground-breaking School, the first 11-18 university training school in the country, which is situated in a purpose-built facility on the University of Birmingham’s Selly Oak campus. Drawing its pupils from across the city, the School’s vision is to ensure the School community reflects the diversity of the city of Birmingham and transforms the lives of its pupils by raising aspirations.

It welcomed its first pupils in September this year, with an intake of 150 year 7 pupils and 200 lower sixth formers. It will grow to its full capacity of 1,150 pupils by 2020. Pupils will benefit from a wide range of opportunities, including access to facilities, expertise and research at the University of Birmingham itself.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:

“I am delighted to be opening the University of Birmingham School, which I hope will become a beacon of academic excellence in the West Midlands. We are determined to spread educational excellence everywhere and at the heart of this is empowering our best institutions – including universities – to be able to open free schools in order to use their expertise to transform the lives of children.

“The University of Birmingham School can play a crucial role in uniting the city under the banner of educational excellence, bringing its diverse communities together through the promise of a rigorous academic education.”

Principal Michael Roden said: “We are delighted to be able to welcome the Secretary of State to our School today, to formally declare the building open. And, as we reach this landmark, and reflect on all of the hard work, passion and shared vision which brought us together to prepare our School for opening, we must now together recognise that it is our responsibility as a School community to fulfil the effort, the care, the professionalism, and the passion that everyone involved has put into our foundations.

“We will now work together to achieve our vision to be a School for everyone, a School for Birmingham, and a School for the future.”

During the official opening event, which also saw parents, supporters, local community representatives and key figures in the establishment of the School present, Mrs Morgan saw some of the varied enrichment activities in which pupils participate. This included work for the chemistry Olympiad and a paired reading project. Mrs Morgan and other guests were also addressed by the sixth form committee chairs, who described what it is like to be one of the first pupils at the School.

As the first secondary University Training School in the country, the University of Birmingham School will be a centre for initial and on-going teacher education and training and research into improving educational practice.

Trainee placements for students from the School of Education will be offered as the School’s pupil numbers grow, and they will learn their craft alongside experienced and qualified teachers, with the School operating in a similar way to teaching hospitals. The University currently educates 350 new teachers a year and its teacher training provision has been rated as “outstanding” by Ofsted.

The School was the most popular state secondary school in Birmingham ahead of its opening, with 1,200 applications for 150 places in year seven. For the 2016/17 academic year, this figure exceeds 1,500.

Lee Sanders, Registrar and Secretary at the University of Birmingham, said: “The official opening of the University of Birmingham School is a momentous occasion for the University –the culmination of years of hard work and endeavour to make the vision of a university training school a reality.

“The opening of this School expands the University’s commitment to our civic responsibility and builds on our extensive existing programme of outreach work with local schools to further promotes a seamless transition from secondary education to higher education through its academic sixth form. It is a pioneering venture in so many ways, and another ‘first’ for the University.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

For more details, photographs from the event or to arrange interviews with School and University representatives, please contact Kara Griffiths, University of Birmingham Communications Manager at k.j.griffiths@bham.ac.uk or  on 07812 671797.