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STEM Academy to open in Tech City to address UK's looming skills shortage

20 Feb 2013
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A new school for 16 to 19-year-olds is set to open in East London's Tech City this September, geared towards helping students begin a career in the science and technology industry.

The STEM Academy Sixth Form will be entirely focussed on providing pupils with further education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

An open day for the academy will be held at Google's headquarters in Soho on Friday, 22 February.

Skills and Development chief executive Virginie RamondVirginie Ramond, chief executive at the Skills and Development Agency, is leading the STEM Academy project and was in charge of submitting the application for the new school to the Department for Education (DfE).

A consultation with the local community in East London is now being held.

"We are currently in the consultation phase to see whether the community fully supports the project," Ramond told V3.

"This is just a legal requirement - we think the community is fully behind us as we have engaged with the Hackney local authority from the beginning, but you can never pre-empt what will be."

Subject to a successful community consultation, government education minister Michael Gove will approve the academy's application to open later this year.

The first 216 students will be welcomed by the school this September, according to current plans, with this figure set to double for the 2014 intake.

Ramond said she was expecting around 200 people at this week's open day, where Google UK industry director, Shuvo Saha, will be giving a presentation.

John O'Shea, currently head of the Islington Sixth Form Consortium, has already been recruited as the principal for the new school and will take up his responsibilities in April.

"The aim is to provide students with a strong education based in STEM subjects as we know how important it is for the future of the UK economy," said Ramond.

Ramond added that the STEM Academy would be encouraging UK science and technology businesses to be involved with the education of students as much as possible.

"Some employees already have shown us a lot of support in our application to the DfE," said Ramond, although she declined to name any particular firms.

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