Middlesbrough will welcome a sixth form run by the world-renowned Eton College after plans received Government backing.
Mayor Chris Cooke has congratulated Eton and its partner, Star Academies, on its successful application for funding from the Department for Education’s Free School Programme.
Middlesbrough was chosen as one of three potential sites, alongside Dudley and Oldham, last year which saw Eton Headmaster Simon Henderson and Star’s Director of Education Lisa Crausby visit the town.
Middlesbrough Council will now work with the Government, Eton and Star to establish a town centre location for the new college.
Both institutions have committed publicly to ensuring the college will focus on giving opportunities to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and helping them to achieve places at the UK’s best universities.
Middlesbrough Mayor Chris Cooke said: “Young people around the Middlesbrough area already have a fantastic range of options for further education and the addition of Eton Teesside further strengthens our offer.
“My focus now will be working with Eton and Star to make sure this college delivers for Middlesbrough and our young people. I’ll be meeting with them at the first opportunity to set out our expectations.
“The new college must form mutually beneficial links with our existing schools and colleges and help us in our shared goal of raising ambition and achievement.
“I know Eton and Star want to make sure this new college is accessible to the most disadvantaged children in our town and I wholeheartedly share that commitment.
“The new college will also provide a regeneration boost to Middlesbrough. Having more students in our town centre helps protect jobs of all kinds that support families across our town.”
The new college, to be called Eton Star Teesside, will join a host of thriving educational institutions at schools, sixth forms and universities across Middlesbrough.
Tens of thousands of students already study in Middlesbrough town centre at the award-winning Teesside University, the ever-growing Middlesbrough College campus at Middlehaven and The Northern School of Art’s £14m new base.
Cllr Philippa Storey, Deputy Mayor and Executive member with responsibility for Education, said: “Adding Eton Teesside to Teesside University, Middlesbrough College, Northern School of Art and our other excellent sixth form offerings of our fabulous secondary schools has the potential to cement Middlesbrough’s reputation as a Northern capital for education, but it must do so in a way that does not negatively impact on existing providers.
“Whether our young people wish to pursue purely academic or more vocational routes, we want them to have the options and opportunities to thrive in Middlesbrough.”
Eton and Star have thanked Middlesbrough Council and its counterparts in Dudley and Oldham for ongoing support of the plans.
Eton’s Headmaster Simon Henderson said: “We are delighted by this decision. We believe these new colleges have the potential to be transformative both for the young people who attend and for the wider communities they will serve. Now the hard work really starts as we turn our vision into reality.”
Star Academies chief executive Sir Hamid Patel CBE said: “This marks an exciting milestone in our partnership. We are confident that the Eton Star sixth forms will produce extraordinary, transformative outcomes, not only for their students but for the wider communities too.”