Eton College set to open sixth form in Dudley as part of 'Levelling Up' agenda

Pupils at Eton College in Berkshire Credit: PA Images

The world-famous Eton College is set to open sixth form free schools in education "cold spots" including Dudley in the West Midlands.

Dudley is included in the list of of 55 education "cold spots" targeted for additional support by the government's 'Levelling Up' agenda.

Three schools will be opened in Dudley, Middlesbrough and Oldham and the post-16 colleges will be modelled on selective sixth forms in the capital such as the London Academy of Excellence.

High-achieving pupils at GCSE from poorer backgrounds will be encouraged to gain top A-level grades, enabling them to study at Oxbridge and other elite universities.

The £44,000-a-year private school has partnered with Star Academies for the scheme, and will bid in the next wave of the Government’s free school programme, with the colleges expected to welcome their first pupils by 2025.

The fees to attend Eton College in Berkshire are £44,000 per year. Credit: PA

The colleges will form part of multi-academy trust Star Academies, with access to Eton’s teachers as well as extracurricular clubs and speaker events.

Eton will also assist pupils during the university application process, as well as with interview preparation, and they will be able to take part in summer residential programmes at Eton.

A statement from Eton and Star Academies said that the small size of the colleges “will allow them to target a very specific academic education and will ensure that they do not disrupt the existing pattern of local post-16 education”.

“The admissions policies – designed in conjunction with University College London’s Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities – will be developed to specifically target young people who would most benefit on an ongoing basis,” the statement said.

Headmaster of Eton College Simon Henderson is ‘delighted to open these colleges’ Credit: PA

What famous people have gone to Eton College?

  • Prince Harry

  • Prince William

  • Sir Adrian Cadbury, former British olympic rower

  • PM Boris Johnson

  • Former PM David Cameron

  • Author George Orwell

  • Author Ian Fleming

  • Actor Hugh Laurie

  • Actor Tom Hiddleston

  • Actor Damian Lewis

  • Bear Grylls

How does the new Eton sixth form colleges work in terms of funding?

Each college will admit 240 students a year with Eton making a financial commitment “in perpetuity” to fund the colleges.

Star Academies chief executive Sir Hamid Patel said: “By harnessing our combined wealth of educational and operational expertise, we are confident that our colleges will produce extraordinary, transformative outcomes, not only for their students but for the wider communities, too.”

He said that the colleges would have a “wider, positive impact throughout the communities of Dudley, Middlesbrough and Oldham”.

Eton College is to open a sixth-form academy in Dudley as part of the government's Levelling Up agenda Credit: PA Images

Simon Henderson, Head Master of Eton, said: "We are delighted to be bidding to open these colleges in Dudley, Middlesbrough and Oldham.

"Our partnership with Star Academies is intended to ensure that the success of the project is greater than the sum of its parts.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said the news was an "exciting step forward” for the area which would give the "brightest Black Country students an accelerator to the top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge".