JCB Academy welcomes its first pupils

The UK's first academy dedicated to engineering today welcomed its first 120 pupils - four years after the idea for the unique school was conceived.

The Year 10 students arrived for lessons at the new £22million JCB Academy in Rocester, Staffordshire where they will study a curriculum designed to produce the engineers and business leaders of the future. It is the first school of its kind in the UK for the education of 14 to 19 year olds with a core focus on engineering.

The JCB Academy is the brainchild of Sir Anthony Bamford, Chairman of JCB. "I am passionate about engineering and committed to British manufacturing," he commented, "but we need the right calibre of young people to ensure that we continue to be a nation that makes things in an innovative way. The JCB Academy is one small step to helping achieve that aim. The facilities here are second-to-none and offer the students the opportunity to learn about manufacturing and engineering in a way that is exciting and practical and aligned to the needs of employers when they qualify in a few years time."

The Academy has a total of 120 pupils and has been equipped with in excess of £1million worth of modern engineering equipment, such a plasma cutter – the only one to be based in a UK school.

The engineering tasks completed by pupils have been set by The JCB Academy's partners who include JCB, Rolls Royce, Toyota, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, IET and The Royal Academy of Engineering. Engineering tasks will be studied alongside maths, English, science and German GCSEs.
In addition to the Year 10 pupils, a total of 50 sixth formers wilI start their studies there on Monday, September 13th.

The £22million JCB Academy is funded by the Department for Education, but as main sponsor JCB contributed 10% of the capital and donated the mill in which it is based.

JCB Academy principal, Jim Wade said: "Today has been long awaited and it's very exciting to welcome pupils here after all the years and months of preparation. We have the very best of facilities here geared to educating our young people to a level that gives them the employability skills they - and British manufacturing - need when they leave. Today is only the start of the journey and already we are making plans to recruit the next intake of students and with demand so high for places we urge those wishing to apply to come to one of three special open evenings at The Academy on either 5th, 7th or 13th October."

Chris Shaw

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