UCL confirmed as sponsor of Camden's new Academy
22 November 2007
UCL will sponsor Camden's new Academy under plans agreed by Camden Council's Executive on 21 November 2007.
The new Academy will bring to the borough 900 much-needed school places for 11-16 year olds, plus an extra 25 sixth form places. It will be a centre of excellence for the teaching of maths and science with an additional focus on global citizenship and languages.
UCL will work within Camden Council's agreed admissions policy and the new school will not be selective. The new state-of-the-art building will be located alongside a brand new special school in Adelaide Road in the north west of the borough.
UCL President and Provost Professor Malcolm Grant said: "We at UCL are naturally delighted with the outcome of the process, and we are now looking forward to getting to work to turn the proposals for an Academy into reality.
"We are involved because we believe it is entirely right for universities and schools to work more closely together. Historically the two sectors have far too often worked in isolation from each other. We have already sought to break down barriers through our extensive range of activities in schools in our locality, and we see involvement in the Academy as the logical extension of that activity.
"In addition, at a time when it is recognised that the UK suffers from a shortage of students qualified in mathematics, science and languages, UCL will put these subjects at the heart of the curriculum, drawing on our expertise and resources in these areas to enhance classroom teaching.
"We have started detailed preparations for the Academy, and will be working closely with colleagues in Camden, parents and other relevant groups. We will make a more detailed announcement in January 2008."
UCL is no stranger to close collaboration with local schools, explained Professor Michael Worton, UCL Vice-Provost (Academic & International). "We have a broad programme of activities with schools, including student mentoring, masterclasses, and talks at schools by UCL staff. We have found our existing collaboration with City and Islington Sixth-Form College has a valuable role in raising student attainment and aspiration. The new Academy will afford opportunities for a more targeted involvement, and provide new models for collaboration that can be rolled out to other schools in the borough."
The decision is part of Camden's £200 million Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. Through BSF, Camden Council will develop and remodel secondary schools and pupil-referral units so they can offer a 21st century standard of education to students across the borough.
Cllr Andrew Mennear, Executive Member for Schools, said: "These tremendously exciting plans are the best option for the future of education in Camden and offer unprecedented opportunity to resolve Camden's historical shortage of school places.
"Huge amounts of debate have focused on the new school, where it should be and what form it should take. While there is still detail to be worked through, after months of listening and consulting we can confidently say the option now on the table is categorically the best for the future of education in Camden.
"UCL is one of the top ten universities in the world and obviously the potential Academy has deservedly attracted a lot of excitement and attention. However, we are equally excited about the opportunity that these plans present for us to invest a massive £170 million in our existing secondary schools to improve the educational offer to our students, which I am confident will lead to significantly higher levels of achievement."
Cllr John Bryant, Executive Member for Children, said: "This is an opportunity to transform mainstream secondary education to meet the needs of a new century; to invest properly in the facilities we offer our most vulnerable students in our special schools and pupil referral units and to build a new school which will sit happily as part of our family of schools.
"There was a strong message coming through from all our consultation events of the need for all our schools to embrace inclusion and to offer an equal opportunity for pupils to develop their potential. Working with UCL means we can create a new secular school which places no barriers to children because of their background or religious beliefs and which has an admissions system which is fair and inclusive.
"In wanting to work with us, UCL is challenging the borough to consider a genuinely comprehensive intake for all our schools. This is a debate I hope the vibrant schools community we have in the borough will actively engage in over the coming months."
Parents, teachers and everyone else interested in education were invited to share their views on Camden's BSF plans after the Council first agreed its BSF plans for consultation on 25 July 2007.
The three-month consultation included four public meetings, a consultation document on the BSF programme which was made available electronically, on the Council's website and in a paper copy to parents via schools. Respondents' top priorities for education in Camden were high attainment and increasing secondary school places.