One of the most famous private schools in the country is supporting a move to open selective sixth form colleges in deprived areas, it has been reported.
According to a report in The Times this evening Eton College has formed a partnership with multi-academy trust Star Academies to open three academically selective colleges in disadvantaged areas in the North of England.
Star Academies runs more than 30 schools in the North of England. Chief executive Hamid Patel was knighted in the Queen's birthday honours earlier this month.
The sixth form colleges will be opened under the free schools programme, admitting 240 pupils per year, The Times article reports, and will aim to fast-track pupils to top universities.
The newspaper reports that teachers at Eton will deliver some lessons virtually, with in-person teacher exchanges possible in the future and the curriculum will include academic essay prizes, debate clubs, Latin and Oxbridge-style tutorials.
It adds that pupils at the colleges will also be able to attend summer school at Eton each year.
Eton is making a financial contribution to the partnership which is thought to be hundreds of thousands of pounds each year. All of the colleges will be in deprived parts of the north or West Midlands, opening from 2024.
The schools will be overseen by a partnership board, chaired by Eton’s vice-provost and reporting to Star Academies board of trustees. Pupils will be academically selected to attend but recruitment will focus on pupils on free school meals or young people who live in areas of disadvantage.
Eton's head master Simon Henderson said: “While our contexts may be different, we have a shared educational ethos and vision. By working together we can deliver outstanding educational opportunities and outcomes to young people in these communities, which will surpass what either organisation could have achieved on our own.”