New Weston College plans at final funding stage
By Prue_Reid | Thursday, March 21, 2013, 18:02
EXCITING plans for a new multi million pound specialist college in Weston-super-Mare - which could open as early as September 2014 - have made it through to the final stage of the bidding process.
The new North Somerset Enterprise and Technology College (NSETC), which is being pioneered by Weston College, could be built on land at Locking Parklands.
Detailed plans for the college, open to students aged between 14-19-years-old, were submitted to the Department for Education (DFE) last year.
The plans have now made it through to the final stage of the bidding process for funding and a project team, led by college principal and chief executive, Dr Paul Phillips, is due to meet with DFE chiefs next week to discuss the scheme further.
The new North Somerset Enterprise and Technology College will have a focus on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) combined with a strong business ethos.
North Somerset Council, local businesses and universities have already pledged support for the college.
Innovative ideas for the college include the introduction of an 8.30am-5pm 'working day' for all learners, including time for homework and enrichment activities, the wearing of 'business dress' instead of college uniform and specialised academic, vocational and technical training.
The college, which would initially open to 200 students, would able to cater for up to 700 students with the capacity to extend should it need to.
University staff will provide top-level teaching for high fliers while employers will offer practical training and apprenticeships.
Close links will be forged with the NHS and pupils will be able to follow the progress of a 'virtual patient' as part of their science studies.
Weston College principal and chief executive Dr Phillips, said: "We are committed to working with business, industry and the community to create innovative learning solutions.
"We have discussed this concept with our partners and prospective learners.
"Weston College isproposing a model of learning that will engender employability skills alongside an entrepreneurial learning environment."
Land has already been earmarked in the North Somerset Local Plan for a new school.
Weston is due to grow even further over the coming years as a result of major housing developments at areas including Locking Parklands and Weston Village.