Comp to offer higher education and boarding

9th February 2007 at 00:00
A yorkshire comprehensive plans to transform itself into an international centre for further and higher education by becoming a trust school.

Garforth community college in Leeds has around 20 overseas students from China, South America and Norway studying in its sixth form. Now it aims to expand its appeal in the international market place by offering sixth formers, foreign and home grown, the chance to study for foundation degrees.

As one of 71 pathfinder trust schools, its new status will allow it to borrow the money it needs to build a hall of residence for them to live in.

Paul Edwards, headteacher, wants to turn the former mining town on the outskirts of Leeds into a lifelong "learning zone", with parents and their children studying side by side.

He said: "I want to move away from just being a state comprehensive offering 11 to 18 education. We should be reaching down into Year 1 and up into adulthood."

Trinity and All Saints, a Leeds higher education college, will partner the school in the trust. A four-month consultation on the school acquiring trust status, which will allow it to control its own admissions, staff and assets, has just begun.

This week Jim Knight, schools minister, acknowledged a lack of interest among heads about the trust school model, seen by Tony Blair as central to delivering more choice in education.

"Only one in 20 (heads) are currently thinking about how the model could be implemented and around a third of heads simply don't know enough to comment on the topic," he said.

The admission came as Barnardo's, Dyslexia Action, New College Durham, Northumbria university, Sunderland university, City College Plymouth and Tribal Group were announced as the latest organisations agreeing to partner trust schools.

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