Lower entry age for Bedford Technical Academy from September 2017?

Monday 5 October 2015

A brand new state-of-the-art Technical Academy for Bedford and surrounding areas being created by Bedford College Academies Trust (BCAT) and Bedford Borough Council to open in Wixams in September 2017, could take students from the age of 11, it has been announced.

Originally planned as a school for (Year 9) 13 – 19 year olds, fitting the three tier upper school system, consultation is being conducted to lower the entry age to Year 7 from the start in 2017, in keeping with the two tier primary-secondary system. When it opens in September 2017 the academy will take in Year 9 students as well, to allow those leaving local middle schools an additional choice of school. 

The Sixth Form will be an option for students transferring from other schools who want to take the Technical Baccalaureate (equivalent to three A-Levels) or  STEM (science technology engineering maths) A-Levels from 2016 at a temporary location – transferring to Wixams in 2017.

The decision not to open to Year 9s on the temporary site was announced last month  (23rd September) by the Department for Education, which funds all academies. 

However the new build, complete with a playing field will be an asset to the Bedfordshire community from September 2017.

With excellent transport links from Bedford, Luton, Barton-Le-Clay, Silsoe, Clophill, Wilstead, Maulden, Flitwick and Ampthill the academy will also offer a subsidised transport service from locations within Bedford Borough.

Bedford College Academies Trust earlier announced the appointment of the new Principal Designate of the pioneering Bedford Technical Academy.

Paul Spyropoulos, aged 44, is a father of four children who are all in Bedford schools. He is a Science graduate of the University of Nottingham who completed his teaching PGCE at the Institute of Education in London. Paul taught in London during the 1990s.

Bedford Technical Academy will offer an exciting curriculum.  Pre-16 age students will concentrate on core academic subjects such as English, humanities, ICT, languages, maths and science.  But, unlike other schools in the area, it will also offer an extended programme from Year 10 in science technologies, including veterinary, clinical and pharmaceutical, as well as information technologies and creative technologies, such as product and computer games design.

Chair of Bedford College Academies Trust, Ian Pryce CBE, said: “The Academy will fulfill the demand for highly skilled and qualified young employees in the science and technology industry sectors.”

Cllr Henry Vann, Portfolio Holder for Education at Bedford Borough Council said: “The plans for a Bedford Technical Academy represent a really exciting educational opportunity for young people in Bedford Borough. At the Council, we remain committed to supporting the best quality education for all pupils in Bedford Borough and we are therefore delighted to be working with BCAT on this project. Our investment is further proof of our commitment to the proposals. We continue to work with all schools of all types as we discuss the future of school structures in the Borough, ensuring that every child has access to excellent learning and teaching spaces."

Bedford Technical Academy is funded directly by Government, as with all academies and free schools.

Find out more at a Bedford Technical Academy Information Event