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New university-governed free school for Canterbury

Canterbury Christ Church University to apply to open a new secondary school with university training centre

Posted by Stephanie Broad | August 02, 2016 | Estates

Canterbury Christ Church University has confirmed that it will be making a proposal to open a new secondary free school in Canterbury.

The school will cater for pupils aged 11-18 and will be situated on the site of the former Chaucer Technology School. The bid will be made to the Department for Education in September, with a planned opening by September 2019.

It will be one of only a few flagship University Training Schools in the country. The other two University Training Schools are run by the University of Cambridge and the University of Birmingham. As a University Training School it will become a centre of excellence in teaching and learning, using university-led teacher development for new and continuing teachers, as well as education research and innovation to benefit the education of its pupils, as well as pupils in other schools in the local area.

All teaching staff will be qualified teachers, and responsibility for each class will always remain with its qualified teacher. However, the school will host training places for student teachers who will act as an extra resource for the pupils, keeping the pupil to adult ratio low.

Another distinctive feature of the school will be a close connection between the school’s subject departments and University subject experts, where Christ Church academics will be able to add value to the school by giving expert lectures and presentations, or ideas for curriculum study. Offering a broad and distinctive curriculum, the school will help with progression routes for pupils into employment and higher education, making use of the wide range of subject expertise in the university.

Canterbury Christ Church University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, said: “Our University’s longstanding commitment to the education of children and young people lies at the core of our mission of transforming lives and communities. Opening a university-governed school in Canterbury would enable us to add directly to the city’s capacity to provide for the needs of its young people. We are planning to provide an education that prepares our school students both for employment or higher education and for fulfilled lives contributing to society.”   

Dr John Moss, Dean of Education, said: “Canterbury Christ Church University was founded in 1962 as a teacher training college. Working with hundreds of partner schools, for over 50 years we are one of the country’s leading institutions for the development of new and serving teachers. Our commitment to local and regional schools and their pupils is at the core of our work. We believe in the power of education to make a transformative difference in the lives of young people and we are passionate about acting on that belief. Starting a new school is a decisive commitment to that vision.” 

Graham Birrell, who is leading the project to develop the vision for the school, said: “There will soon be a shortfall of secondary places in the City, so we have worked with our partner schools to produce an exciting proposal for the pupils of Canterbury. We have been inspired by University Schools from around the world, particularly in Finland, which we visited with Head Teachers from local schools, and which has one of the best education systems in the world.”

The University is holding a public consultation on the proposals, details of which can be found here, including a public meeting to be held at the University on Thursday, 15 September 7pm, Michael Berry Lecture Theatre, Old Sessions House.

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