Premier reveals that Nottingham's state-of-the-art campus will house the National College for School Leadership. Diana Hinds reports.
THE NATIONAL College for School Leadership, popularly dubbed a "Sandhurst for heads", is to be based at Nottingham University's futuristic Jubilee Campus.
Nottingham had to beat off stiff competition from Birmingham and Warwick universities to win the contract, announced by Prime Minister Tony Blair at yesterday's London conference for new headteachers.
Jubilee Campus, designed by Sir Michael Hopkins, opened its doors to students this term and will be officially opened by the Queen in December. Built on a former industrial site close to the city centre, it is about a mile from Nottingham University's main campus, University Park.
The university business school and computer science and information technology department are now sited at Jubilee Campus, as well as its schools of education and continuing education - all of which could have relevance for the Leadership College.
The college will be in operation by September 2000, and the appointment of its director is expected to be announced next month. As well as offering national training courses and residential programmes, the college will make a substantial part of its work available on-line, as a "virtual college", with on-line debates and masterclasses.
Mr Blair announced yesterday a pound;3 million package to provide laptop computers for the 1,200 new headteachers appointed this year, to enable them to improve their training and contribute to the development of college's virtual arm. "The Leadership College has the potential to revolutionise and transform our schools. For the first time it will ensure that heads, deputies and other school leaders have the professional support, recognition and inspiration they deserve," he said.
The new campus also includes accommodation for 750 students. Its most striking feature is its learning resource centre, with library and 24-hour computer access, which is built on an island in the middle of a lake. To get to the top of the building, visitors walk up inside a spiral, without the need for stairs.