New school aims to fill north east skills gap

A new school to prepare young people to become qualified engineers, scientists and technicians is now taking applications for its opening in Newcastle city centre next year.

Discovery School, specialising in engineering and IT underpinned by science, technology and maths for 14 to 19 year olds, has confirmed it will open in September 2014 and future pupils can sign up now.

Principal Dr Wendy Allen said: “The ethos of Discovery School is coming to work not going to school. It will be a welcome boost for the region’s high tech employers who need workers with the skills which Discovery School can provide.”

Students who are entering Year 10 or Year 12 next September can visit the school website and apply online to study at Discovery School. Places are limited so please apply early.

The school has started holding open evenings for parents and prospective students from every Wednesday between 6pm and 7pm in the Discovery Room, on Palace Street.

Discovery School aims to equip young people to fill the north east’s growing skills gaps in many specialised engineering sectors which have an increasing demand for highly qualified engineers and technicians.

Specialist areas will include new and emerging low carbon industries such as environmentally friendly vehicles, offshore and renewable energy and biotechnology.

The school’s impressive new learning spaces, workshops and labs are already taking shape on site, where Discovery School students can turn theory into the hands-on application of learning, rather than spending time in traditional classrooms.

Discovery School will have 180 places for Year 10 students and 180 places for Year 12 students in 2014 – eventually increasing to 720 students. The school will also help revitalise a part of Newcastle’s Discovery Quarter with an investment of almost £9 million.

Construction company Sir Robert McAlpine is putting the finishing touches to the exterior of the new school, which is the brainchild of NCG, a non-profit education and training organisation with headquarters in Newcastle.

Dr Allen said: “We have already had tremendous interest and support from parents and future students when we first unveiled the plans earlier this year.

“I know they will be even more excited now we have a confirmed opening date, so we are now extending the offer to other parents who think Discovery School is right for their child.

“Discovery School offers a unique learning experience that looks, feels and operates more like a high tech engineering facility in Seattle or Silicon Valley than a traditional secondary school.

“It gives young people a chance to excel in a school that encourages learning through real world industrial projects and team assignments as well as traditional classroom teaching.

“We have strong links with employers regionally and nationally, and many have already pledged their support to help plan the curriculum and provide work placements and projects for students at Discovery School.”

“Our teaching will be innovative and support a culture of coming to work rather than going to school - grounded in the traditional values of hard work and commitment, delivered by talented and handpicked employees from education and industry alike.

“There will be a clear focus on those young people who wish to pursue a career in engineering, technology and science with clear paths to employment, training and further and higher education.”