Strong support for West Cumbria University Technical College
Last updated at 13:19, Friday, 22 March 2013
Nearly 80 per cent of people who responded to a public consultation over plans for a university technology college in West Cumbria have given their backing to the scheme.
A total of 305 people responded to a questionnaire about the Britain’s Energy Coast Campus plan to create a new college for students aged 14-19.
Of those, 235 gave positive responses to the plan for the Britain’s Energy Coast Campus board to enter into a funding agreement with the secretary of state for the college.
They represented 77 per cent of the overall respondents and 88 per cent of those who expressed a view one way or another.
Ninety-five of the respondents were parents or carers (30.8 per cent), 74 were learners (24.3 per cent), 14 were employers (4.6 per cent) and 122 (40.3 per cent) were from others including teachers, parents of university students, Sellafield workers and interested residents.
Twenty-six of the 49 parents who expressed an opinion (56 per cent) indicated that their child would be interested in attending the new college, which will specialise in engineering and construction.
Fourteen of the 26 children who gave their opinion (54 per cent) said they would be interested in attending.
The new college would allow young people to take a technically orientated course of study alongside traditional subjects including English, maths and sciences.
It aims to equip them with skills for the nuclear, energy, advanced manufacturing and construction industries.
Questions were raised about the numbers of students in West Cumbria and how the new college would affect pupil numbers at local schools.
Parents were also keen to know how travel costs would be met for students travelling to the college.
Travel plans are being developed.
As well as the questionnaire, two open forum sessions were held in January, attended by 16 people.
Seven councillors and eight headteachers and chairmen of governors also attended sessions.
Rob Rimmer, programme director at Britain’s Energy Coast Campus, said: “Most people appear to understand and appreciate the need for an educational facility which has both a technical focus and is based on developing skills in demand by our major employers.
“The level of interest gives us confidence as we look forward to recruiting students for 2014.
“The results also show that we need to continue with our work in explaining to the community what the University Technical College is all about and we will keep updating people on the college and its progress over the next few months.”
Entering into a funding agreement would be the next step in the process.
Subject to that, the college is expected to open in September 2014 at Lillyhall.
The Department of Education will fund the development of the site and the sponsors are Britain's Energy Coast Campus, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, University of Cumbria, Lakes College and Gen II Engineering and Technology Ltd.
First published at 13:07, Friday, 22 March 2013
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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