Eton College has announced that it will be opening three selective academic sixth form free schools in northern England – and one of them is in Oldham.
The three new post-16 colleges – the other two set to open in Dudley and Middlesborough – are said to be being designed to help give young people in the area who have done well in their GCSEs the opportunity to achieve the A-Levels they need to go to Oxbridge and other elite universities across the world.
Each of the areas are included in the list of of 55 education “cold spots” targeted for additional support by the UK government’s ‘Levelling Up’ plan.
According to Oldham Council, Eton College and its partner Star Academies are intending to bid in the next wave of the Department for Education’s Free School Programme to open the sixth forms – a process that is expected to get underway in the next few months, with a hope that the institutions can welcome their first students as soon as 2025.
If these bids are successful, the new colleges will be part of Star Academies – which runs both primary and secondary schools in communities facing “significant challenges”, including in the North West.
The co-educational sixth form in Oldham would have access to some of Eton’s best teachers, its clubs, and its speaker events, and Eton will also help students to prepare for university applications and interviews, as well as being invited to take part in a summer residential at the £44,000-a-year private Berkshire college itself.
The Oldham college’s small size will allow it to target a very specific academic education, and will ensure that they do not disrupt the existing pattern of local post-16 education, Oldham Council said.
When it comes to the admissions policy – which has been designed in conjunction with University College London’s Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities – this will be developed to specifically-target young people who would most benefit on an ongoing basis.
The Oldham college is expected to admit 240 students per year.
Speaking on the “exciting” plans and ahead of the bid to the Free School Programme, Cllr Arooj Shah – Leader of Oldham Council – said: “My first and foremost responsibility is to fight for Oldham and draw in support and investment from every corner, and I’ll work across political and ideological divides to make that happen.
“For a young person growing up in Oldham, this is really exciting news, and comes after a lot of hard work behind the scenes with Eton, and with Star, to make this fantastic idea a reality.”
She continued: “This new sixth form will open up world-class academic opportunities for Oldham’s young people – providing an unrivalled educational experience that will enable every child, wherever they live and whatever their background, to fulfil their potential.
“Together with the outstanding Sixth Form College, school sixth forms and Oldham College, we are a family which recognises we have a generational responsibility to invest in young people so they realise their full potential.
“This project will improve opportunities and education outcomes for not just the families who live here now, but for generations to come.”
Simon Henderson – Head Master of Eton – added: “Our partnership with Star Academies is intended to ensure that the success of the project is greater than the sum of its parts [and] while our contexts may be different, our values are aligned and together we are committed, for the long-term, to sharing our educational vision and delivering outstanding educational opportunities to young people in these areas.”
Star Academies chief executive Sir Hamid Patel said that the colleges would have a “wider, positive impact throughout the community of Oldham”.
Police search for Moors murder victim Keith Bennett resumes as ‘skull is found’
Police are back searching for Moors Murder victim Keith Bennett after a skull was reportedly found.
12-year-old Keith was snatched by notorious serial killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in 1964.
The pair’s victims were five children, Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans, all aged between 10 and 17 years old at the time of their murder.
The victims were buried on Saddleworth Moor, but Keith’s remains have never been found.
Now a major breakthrough may have come from an author, Russell Edwards, who alerted police to ‘potential human remains in a remote location’.
Specialist GMP officers have now begun initial exploration activity but say it is ‘far too early’ to confirm if human remains have been discovered.
Officers have also updated Keith’s brother Alan Bennett, who was just eight years old when his sibling vanished and who has dedicated much of his life to solving the mystery of the missing body.
MP Force Review Officer Martin Bottomley said: “At around 11.25am on Thursday 29 September 2022, Greater Manchester Police was contacted by the representative of an author who has been researching the murder of Keith Bennett, a victim of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.
“Following direct contact with the author, we were informed that he had discovered what he believes are potential human remains in a remote location on the Moors and he agreed to meet with officers yesterday afternoon to elaborate on his find and direct us to a site of interest.
“The site was assessed late last night and, this morning, specialist officers have begun initial exploration activity. We are in the very early stages of assessing the information which has been brought to our attention but have made the decision to act on it in line with a normal response to a report of this kind.
“It is far too early to be certain whether human remains have been discovered and this is expected to take some time.
“We have always said that GMP would act on any significant information which may lead to the recovery of Keith and reunite him with his family. As such, we have informed his brother of the potential development – he does not wish to be contacted at this time and asks that his privacy is respected.”
A further GMP statement published by the Manchester Evening Newsadded: “We have always said that GMP would act on any significant information which may lead to the recovery of Keith and reunite him with his family.
“Officers met with Mr Edwards yesterday evening (29th September) and he was able to locate a site of interest and provide us with further details of the work he has been carrying out.
“We are at the very early stages of assessing the evidence which he brought to our attention, but have taken the decision to excavate an area of land with a view to determining what lies there.
“It is far too early to be certain whether human remains have been uncovered, but out of respect for Alan Bennett, who we regularly maintain contact with, we have informed him of this potential development.
“Alan does not wish to be disturbed at this time and we would ask that his request for privacy is respected.”
Featured image: GMP
Question Time audience stunned as first-time buyer says mortgage quote DOUBLED
Thursday night’s Question Time audience could be heard audibly gasping after a fellow crowd member revealed that her mortgage quote had doubled followed the recent mini-budget.
Taping in Manchester on 29 September, the current events and politics programme was discussing property when would-be first-time buyer Rabia revealed that her mortgage offer had jumped from an initial amount of 4.5% interest to a shocking 10.5% in just a matter of days.
As you can see in the incredible clip, both the audience and the panel are taken aback at the revelation.
The Greater Manchester resident said she is desperate to know what the government’s plan for mortgages is as following the latest revision, she says she simply cannot afford to put the money down on her first home.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer weighed in on the social media reaction, quote tweeting the clip from his party’s own account and stating that “the Tories must get back to Parliament and reverse their kamikaze budget” as the current economic mess is being “paid for by working people”.
To make matters worse, Rabia was given no clarification from her lenders, only that they were pulling her offers. Conservative MP and Minister for Local Government, Faith and Communities, Paul Scully had little information to offer her either, simply stating it is a short-term effect and that the market will stabilise.
Scully was subject to an entirely different reaction from the audience as well after his blind attempts to defend Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng were met with laughter. Conversely, Richard Bacon was met with applause after he labelled the mini-budget “absurd”.
As if the anti-Tory sentiment wasn’t already at a high, the chancellor’s mini-budget – which saw the corporations, bankers and the generally wealthy benefit ahead of the working class – has seen fresh calls for a general election to be held as soon as possible.
Beyond declaring a so-called £2,500 limit on energy bills (which many have warned isn’t a guaranteed cap), there was seemingly very little in the way of policy that
For those still unclear as to what was announced in the divisive mini-budget, here is a quick summary:
Speaking in a speech at the Labour conference in Liverpool on Tuesday, Starmer said that the government “haven’t just failed to fix the roof, they’ve ripped out the foundations, smashed the windows and now they’ve blown the doors off for good measure.