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Brentwood 'lost out again' after government rejects bid for new college plans

PUBLISHED: 11:18 01 June 2012 | UPDATED: 11:20 01 June 2012

Sawyers Hall Lane headteacher Stephen Capper

Sawyers Hall Lane headteacher Stephen Capper

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Brentwood has "lost out again" after a bid to have a university technical college on a school site was rejected by the government.

Stephen Capper, headteacher of Sawyers Hall College, in Sawyers Hall Lane, submitted the bid for a university technical college (UTC) in March. This week the Department for Education (DfE) announced it was not successful.

Last December, free Church of England school Becket Keys was given approval by the DfEducation to use the site and the other bids rejected. But after it emerged that the new school would only take up two-thirds of the site Mr Capper resubmitted his bid. UTCs are for 14 to 19-year-olds and are sponsored by universities while businesses provide training and help shape the curriculum.

Frustrating

The Brentwood bid was backed by the University of Essex, and several firms, including International Financial Data Services and Bank of New York Mellon. It was also supported by Havering College of Further and Higher Education and the Prospects Learning Foundation.

Mr Capper said: “Brentwood has lost out again and that’s sad. I am deeply disappointed with the decision. We put forward an extremely sound business case and worked up a strong partnership.

“It is frustrating that we haven’t got where we wanted to. But why should Brentwood miss out?

“It is pretty disappointing that Brentwood still has no technical school.

“If you are over 14 you are still going to have to travel outside of Brentwood to access courses that are not A-level.

“It’s very sad for our young people. It’s them that have lost the opportunity to progress with practical and technical skills and lead them into employment. It is a great loss for the area.”

But he said the announcement would not deter him. This week he met Lord Baker, the former Conservative education secretary whose idea it was to set up 100 UTCs by 2015, about ways to move the plans forward.

He said: “We are not going to leave it at that. We will find another route to establish this provision which is needed. It would not only include trade skills, but include a high level for construction, financial services and engineering.”

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